Adani’s Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland has faced many setbacks, but the campaign will need to intensify to prevent it becoming operational.
After their successful national strike late last year, school students have called a second strike and demonstration for 15 March. If university students and workers join the demonstration, it will be a significant boost for the campaign.
Early on, the campaign targeted banks that might have helped Adani with financing. Last year, the company announced that it could not get loans and would self-fund the operation.
Because of this, Adani has had to reduce the scale of the proposed mine from a $16.5 billion project to $2 billion. The output will be 10-15 million tonnes per year, not the 60 million originally projected.
But even the smaller project will be catastrophic for the environment. Cutting through Queensland’s Galilee Basin, the mine will significantly affect the ecosystem of the area. It will also open the region for more companies. In the words of Adani’s chief executive, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, “More mines will go there because we are building a 100-million-tonne railway and a 120-million-tonne port”.
To protect the Galilee Basin, and to prevent even more carbon dioxide being released into the planet’s atmosphere, we need to do more than just reduce the size of Adani’s mine.
We need to stop it.
Adani is moving heavy machinery to the mine site and is vowing to go ahead with the project. But the government has the final say over whether it will go ahead.
Shamefully, both the Labor and Liberal parties have granted approval for the mine, and the Queensland state Labor government has given Adani unlimited access to water from the Great Artesian Basin for 60 years. But the company is still waiting for final environmental approvals.
Pressure must be put on the Labor and Liberal parties to take action against the mine, including overturning all existing approvals and concessions.
A 2017 ReachTEL poll showed that almost 70 percent of Australians oppose the mine. But so far this sentiment has remained relatively passive. There have been some large actions against the mine, but no mass demonstrations of the sort that put real pressure on politicians.
Last year’s student strike was an important step in that direction, mobilising thousands of high school students across the country. They not only marched through the streets demanding an end to the mine, but did so during school hours – which shows they are serious about campaigning.
More of this action is needed, with direct action, if we are to defeat Adani.
A blockade against the mine site has also continued in an attempt to disrupt Adani’s preparatory work. The blockaders’ numbers will need to increase from dozens to hundreds.
Ballyn Teagle, a campaigner at the front line, told Red Flag, “Throughout history, campaigns have been won through a conjunction of many strategies – rallies, strikes and legal battles. Direct action is the method in which issues are fought on the front line, whether that be against coal and climate change or against oppressors”.
Direct action needs to be paired with mass political protests, showing politicians that if they allow the mine to go ahead, business as usual will be disrupted.
That’s why the next school strike, planned for 15 March, is so important. The challenge is to get the word out to every school, university campus and city. This could be the year that sounds the death knell for Adani’s mine – but only if we fight.