An Australian delegation today called on officials of Adani Group to hand over an open letter urging it to abandon the AUD 21.7 billion (USD 15.6 billion) Carmichael coal mine project on serious environment concerns. The four-member Australian community delegation comprising businessman Geoff Cousins, Reef tourism operator Lindsay Simpson, Queensland farmer Bruce Currie and conservationist Imogen Zethoven, handed over the letter to officials of the company's Corporate Communications department here. The letter urges the company's Chairman and Founder Gautam Adani to drop the Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland and instead invest in renewable energy. The letter also warns that the project could damage bilateral ties and even affect sporting ties. Speaking to reporters, Cousins said that he presented the letter "signed by over 90 prominent Australians including cricketers Ian and Greg Chappell," to Adani through the company's Corporate Communications department. "The official very graciously received the letter and invited us to correspond further. We hope they will reconsider their decision to build coal mine projects," Cousins said. He said the project, being built next to the Great Barrier Reef, poses great environmental risk as well as endanger the health of natives, apart from damaging ground water. "This could be the biggest coal mine to be built in Australia right next to the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is already at risk from coral bleaching, and ships taking coal is just not the right thing to do," he said, adding that a medical journal Lancet has also said that the project poses "serious risk to public health." "We welcome investments, and we welcome Adani's investment if it is in clean and renewable energy.
But we do not welcome it at all if this damages our country, damages great barrier reef," he said.
He also said that the continuation of the project could also damage India's relation with Australia.
Another member of the delegation, Imogen Zethoven said, "This coal mining project will result in 60 million tonnes of coal being exported through the Great Barrier Reef every year for 60 years, which will cause future death of the Great Barrier Reef."
The project, one of the world's largest, is expected to start construction this year after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments.
The project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed off on land.
The letter says, "We are writing to respectfully ask you to abandon the Adani Group's proposal in Queensland's Galilee Basin... Pollution from burning coal was the single biggest driver of global warming, threatening life in Australia, India and all over the world." "We urge you to think about global warming and public health and listen to the wishes of the people. It would be a great shame if this one project were to damage the image of India in Australia... We strongly urge you to decide to abandon this project." Adani officials said that they might issue a statement on the matter later.