Legendary Australian cricketer Ian and Greg Chappell and other prominent Australian cricketers wrote an open letter to Indian energy giant Adani to abandon its controversial coal mine project in Queensland as they feel it could damage bilateral ties and even hit sporting links.
After getting the green signal from the federal and Queensland state governments, the Carmichael coal mine project’s construction was to start this year. This project is one of the largest projects of the world and cost is the 21.7 billion Australian dollars ($15.6 billion).
The project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic meters of soil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed of on land.
On Thursday, an Australian delegation called on officials of Adani Group to hand over an open letter, where they are urging it to abandon coal mine project on serious environment concerns.
Businessman Geoff Cousins, Reef tourism operator Lindsay Simpson, Queensland farmer Bruce Currie and conservationist Imogen Zethoven, are members of the four-member Australian community delegation, who handed over an open letter to officials of the Corporate Communications department of the company.
The open letter addressed to Gautam Adani, who is the founder and chairman of the company, cites public opposition, risks to miners' health, climate change and potential impact on the fragile Great Barrier Reef as reasons not to proceed and this project could "damage the image of India in Australia".
Ian Chappell stated, “Cricket has a bit to do with the feeling between India and Australia. The thought that this [mine] could affect the relationship, hopefully, that'll get through.”
Besides the Chappell brothers, authors Richard Flanagan and Tim Winton, Telstra chair John Mullen and investment banker Mark Burrows has also signed the letter.
The letter reads, “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.”
It noted, “Last month The Lancet, one of the world's leading medical journals, published a report that described your company's Carmichael mine proposal as a public health disaster...this mine proposal does not have wide public support in Australia and does not have the support of the Traditional Owners of the land where the mine would be dug. There are concerns about the impact the mine will have on groundwater resources and on nearby farmers who rely on this water for their livelihoods.”
The open letter further said, "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 understand the Adani Group has not made a final investment decision on the Carmichael coal mine. We strongly urge you to decide to abandon this project. We the undersigned - and we believe all Australians - would support and welcome moves by your company to invest further in renewable energy in Australia.”
Dismissing the objection raised by Chappells, Ian Macfarlane, Chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) dismissed the objection raised by Chappell brothers and others and said that the Chappells should stick to commentating on cricket.
Macfarlane stated, “I'm guessing they're not aware that there are 400 million Indians who don't have electricity, who are living in darkness, who are burning all sorts of fuels that are poisoning them and the atmosphere. What we want to do is make sure that not only do they get electricity, but that coal-fired electricity is generated with some of the cleanest coal in the world.”
Curtis Pitt of Australian Labor Party said the Chappells were entitled to their opinion, but they were overlooking the job opportunities for regional Queensland. Pitt stated, “There's been a rigorous approval process with more than 200 conditions.”
Opposition treasury spokesman Scott Emerson of the liberal national party said, “The Chappells - who were up here at various times in their careers - I would say to them get on board, get with the LNP's policies of backing Adani, backing this project.”