One of India’s richest men is pushing ahead with a controversial coal mine in Australia, but the project will be scaled back after plans for state subsidies were dropped following huge protests.
The Adani Group, owned by billionaire Gautam Adani, said Thursday that its Carmichael mine in Queensland state will be “100% financed” through its own resources.
Construction of the project, which has been repeatedly delayed by protests from politicians and environmentalists, can now begin, Adani’s mining chief Lucas Dow said.
“We will now deliver the jobs and business opportunities we have promised … all without requiring a cent of Australian taxpayer dollars,” Dow said in a speech in Queensland released by the company.
The proposed use of Australian taxpayer dollars had enraged opponents of the mine, who say it will be a “death sentence” for the Great Barrier Reef because of the high levels of carbon pollution that coal produces. Large parts of the reef have already been destroyed by rising ocean temperatures linked to global warming.
Adani has significantly scaled back its ambitions for the mine. It had projected production of 60 million tons of coal a year, but says now that it will peak at 27.5 million tons.
Adani had initially said it would spend about $12 billion on the project, which also included a new railway line and an airstrip. It did not reveal how much the smaller mine will cost.
“The project stacks up both environmentally and financially,” Dow said on Wednesday, adding that the company is working with regulators to get the remaining approvals it needs to start actually producing coal from the mine.