Letter from Australia

carmichael mineGreens alarmed by Indian firm’s giant coal mine in Queensland

By Julia Meek in Melbourne

Green politicians and environment groups have been expressing dismay at the Federal Government’s decision to approve a giant Queensland coalmine owned by India’s Adani company.

Conditions have been imposed, including offsets of about 30,000 hectares for habitats destroyed.bulk carrier

But the project will bring 240 more massive bulk carriers into the Great Barrier Reef waters every year.

At full capacity, the ‘Carmichael’ mine could produce as many as 60 million tonnes of coal a year with a ‘resource value of $5 billion per annum over 60 years.

Apart from the 3,920 jobs for operational work — and 2,475 jobs during construction — the mine would, it’s stated, also ‘provide electricity for up to 100 million people in India.’

The mine would also increase the number of ships entering the Great Barrier Reef by almost 240 per year, according to Felicity Wishart, a spokeswoman for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

And that organization was also not happy to hear the announcement of a Union of Nations (Australia, India, Japan and the US), which will  face up to China’s growing military  power, and carry out joint military (naval) exercises in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, the news item that has grabbed major headlines nationally concerns the loss of 37 Australian lives among the 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian Airlines flight, MH 17, which crashed in the Ukraine, presumably shot down by a surface-to-air missile. during the civil war raging in that country.

Attempts to secure the crash site and to reach the remains of victims are being co-ordinated by authorities in the Netherlands.

Australia has sent members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), mostly unarmed, who are being joined by soldiers from the Australian Defenc Force (ADF).

A shrine has been erected at the entrance to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, with the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgove, laing a memorial wreath of eucalyptus.

It’s hoped the Australian task force will be able to identify and co-ordinate the return of remains to loved ones as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, this news seems to follow rather soon after the total disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 135 over the Indian Ocean.

Neighbouring countries, including Australia, have been sending search parties — but in the absence of any clues,solving the mystery seems remote.