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Protests underway at coal project

(Sept 21, 2017)

A week of protest action has begun in Queensland, Australia, as Indian conglomerate Adani prepares to start work on what is set to be Australia’s largest coal mine.

Adani chairman Gautam Adani told Indian media last month that construction would start in October and first coal would come out in March 2020.

Front Line Action on Coal said dozens of locals had launched “a peaceful community campaign to ensure the project does not go ahead, vowing to engage in non-violent civil disobedience to protect the [Barrier] Reef, climate and local communities from Adani’s plans”.

This morning, the group hung a banner from the Bowen water tower, saying Adani planned to “steal 355 billion litres of water from local rivers and aquifers”; however the banner did not last long before “real locals took it down!” according to a comment posted to the group’s Facebook page.

Last week, Adani said it had been advised activists planned to demonstrate between September 16-23 at the Abbot Point coal terminal and advised them to consider safety first.

“We support the democratic right to demonstrate but we also support the right of people to get to and from work, and to do so in a safe manner,” Abbot Point Operations CEO Dwayne Freeman said.

He said he had received good support from Bowen residents and the business community who valued the port, the direct and indirect jobs it generated and its positive links to the community.

The Adani board gave the controversial A$16.5 billion (US$13.2 billion) coal project the green light in June, while still awaiting a federal government decision on a concessional $1 billion loan, to subsidise its planned 388km rail line to link the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point.

The mine is expected to ramp up to 60 million tonnes per annum and the coal shipped to India.

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