Adani's Carmichael project hurt by more curbing around Great Barrier Reef
Growing concern over the Great Barrier Reef’s endangered coral system has led to 565,000 kilometres of additional, wider curbs – or about a 140 per cent increase – along the Queensland coast.
The decision to build it comes after the 1,400 mile stretch of land learned it could possibly lose its World Heritage Site status, as environmental risks from coal, oil and gas mining has led to the loss of about 50 per cent of its coral cover over the past 30 years. As Business Review Australia has previously written, The reef is also among Australia’s top tourist attractions.
Queensland is Australia’s largest coal-producing state, and this could affect the government’s plan to begin the Carmichael coal, railway and port project, which will open up several new coal mines in the northeast section of the country. If the reef is listed as “in danger” by the UN, it will make it extremely difficult to for mining companies to open a massive fossil fuel area in Queensland’s Galilee basin, which is an underground area of coal that is nearly the same size as England!
The combined mine, rail and port operation would provide over 10,000 jobs and supply opportunities for local businesses. It will also provide the framework for the development of other proposed mines that will generate more jobs now and in the future, and could eventually create around $22 million in revenue in only the first half of the project. India’s Adani Group and Korean giant steelmaker POSCO announced a joint venture to build the railway.
In addition, environmentalists noted the planned expansion of Abbot Point port on the Queensland coast to aid with millions of tonnes of coal exports and thousands of extra container ships will put added pressure on the reef as well. While 11 international banks such as Barclays and HSBC have already ended its effort to finance the Galilee basin mines project, Australia’s government and mining industries are very concerned about the possible “in danger” listing.
The Carmichael mine, which despite the collapse of coal prices, is set to become one of the largest coal developments in the world when it begins in 2017. It is expected to be the first and largest of the Galilee basin development, and at capacity, would eventually dig up about 60 metric tonnes of thermal for exporting to countries such as India. However, the carbon dioxide emissions, which are at about 130 tonnes, are nearly equal to when Sweden and New Zealand combine to let off in a year! There’s also the fear that water supplies to nearby farmland may also be affected by the projects.
But if too many investors back out of the Carmichael project, it could result in a loss of at least eight large coal mines in the Galilee basin. Sebastian Bock, an investment campaigner at Greenpeace UK said, “If the Abbott government is serious about protecting the reef – as they keep telling the world they are – they should stop any Galilee coal project in its tracks.”
And aside from its environmental impact, others believe other financial factors don’t add up to it being a smart project. The price of Australian coal dropped to $56 a tonne last month, which is less than half of it was in 2011. “The combination of the expense of the development – a mine, a railway and a port – and a weakening of the coal price around the world combine to make this project financially unviable,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.