A huge coal mine mobilizes Australia

For several years, the Adani coal company tries to settle in Queensland but faces complications. He announced the upcoming work.

Thousands of demonstrators were expected this Saturday, December 8 throughout Australia against the construction of the country's largest coal mine in central Queensland, north of the continental state. The debate has raged for several years among politicians, environmentalists and the operator, the Indian company Adani.

The company had to postpone the start of its work several times this year due to the protests and reluctance of some politicians. The project was initially approved by the Queensland government in 2014.

Symbol of the struggle against the mining industry

For ecologists, Adani has become the symbol of the fight against the mining industry that provides 60% of electricity in Australia. "Hundreds of thousands of young people in the country are facing climate change and know that coal is one of the causessays Gemma Borgo-Caratti, spokesman for the Stop Adani movement and director of the Australian Climate Youth Coalition. Adani will produce more greenhouse gases than Australia is already doing. "

Environmentalists are worried about the serious consequences of this mine on the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, describing Adani as a "Death penalty" for the environment. Part of the coral reefs has already been destroyed by the increase in ocean temperatures caused by global warming.

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Australians also fear water, land and surface pollution. For Greenpeace, these waters are "The cornerstone of this region". C & # 39; is "Special sources near the mine that are true oasis of life in a very arid region".

Adani had to reduce its ambition to produce 60 million tons of coal annually and now claims to want to reach 27.5 million tons. The mining giant defends himself to follow the same rules as the other mines. "We anticipate that we will not be treated differently from other Queensland mining companies"says the company in a statement.

"We have seen Adani's behavior in India, polls have shown that they do not treat the traditional owners of the country well and have polluted the waters, says Gemma Borgo-Caratti. We think that society is not reliable.

Banks and the state have withdrawn from financing

The banks and the state of Queensland have gradually withdrawn from their agreement to finance the work. The Indian company therefore had to use its funds, up to 2 billion Australian dollars (1.3 billion euros). "Now we will create the jobs and business opportunities we have promised … all without requiring a penny of Australian taxpayers' money" Lucas Dow rejoices.

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Adani believes it "1,500 construction jobs will be created and additional indirect thousands will be generated, which Queensland communities can benefit from." What Gemma Borgo-Caratti replies is that, even if she understands it "Australians need work" the country must "Switch to renewable energy as quickly as possible".

"It's just coal, do not be afraid"

It is not the position of the federal government that assured in October that it wanted to continue coal mining, the main resource of the country. The raw material represents a competitive advantage in terms of energy and the global market.

In a speech to Parliament in 2017, Prime Minister Scott Morisson, who was just a member of Parliament, made fun of the opposition by shouting: "It's just coal, do not be afraid."

To begin construction, Adani must obtain the approval of the Queensland government and negotiate access to its coal-powered trains with the Aurizon network, an important railway transport company. It may take several weeks.

Lilas-Apollonia Fournier, in Melbourne

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