Adani Continues Push to Approve Australia’s Largest Coal Mine
In spite of the warnings from scientists and protests of citizen activists, Indian coal mining company Adani continues to push its agenda with the Australian Government to approve the Carmichael Mine project – to be the largest coal mine in Australia. The Carmichael mine will consists of six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines, and will supply Indian power plants.
Dredging Through the Great Barrier Reef
Adani also wants the go-ahead on building the Abbott Point Coal Terminal, a giant coal port on the coast, with a dredged shipping channel that goes straight through the reef. The push is on to mine the cash cow of coal before it becomes financially unfeasible and politically untenable to do so.
Impact on the Great Barrier Reef
Ironically, coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, can impact the health of the Great Barrier Reef, another cash cow that brings in tourism dollars. Recent estimates say the Great Barrier Reef is worth 6.2 billion dollars per year in revenue. At the end of 2016, it was reported that the Adani project was closer to reality. Yet the decrease in the price of renewable energy alternatives is quickly narrowing the window of economic feasibility for expansion in the coal industry. See our update on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, read; Can the Great Barrier Reef be Saved?? (Photo via Australian Mining)
Is Peak Coal Here Now?
Chinese coal use peaked in 2013 and since China was responsible for 80% of the growth in global demand, this coupled with diminished demand from the United States and most of the industrialized world, peak coal appears to be here now. Goldman Sachs projects that global demand will drop from 6.15 billion metric tons in 2013 to 5.98 billion tons in 2019. No wonder that Arch Coal – the second largest supplier of US coal filed bankruptcy in January, 2017 joining competitors like Patriot Coal, Alpha Natural Resources and Walter Energy.
With its consumption of coal dropping for the last three years, China will not be approving the construction of new coal mines for at least the next few years and remarkably its coal imports dropped 30 percent in 2015. This along with India’s plans to substantially increase investments in renewables may be the death knell for coal industry expansion in Australia.
However, it may not be enough to save the Great Barrier Reef
The reef has already been hit hard by rising ocean temperatures that ocean scientists say is man-made, through the burning of fossil fuels like coal. To read more about the impact of climate change, global warming and rising ocean temperatures on the health of the Great Barrier Reef see the BlueOcean.net article Great Barrier Reef was a Poster Child for Ocean Warming and Di
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When ocean water gets too warm, it stresses the coral and affects the symbiotic relationship between the coral polyps and the zooxanthellae algae that live within them. The algae that gives the coral their striking colors is jettisoned if water temperatures remain high for a week or more, leaving the coral polyps white or “bleached”. In order for the coral to recover, the temperatures must drop or the coral will die. A smothering type of algae grows on dead corals, and need enough herbivorous reef fish to eat the algae and allow new colonies for form. If the heat doesn’t drop, the corals will die.