Turnbull assures Gautam Adani that native title issues will not stop his coal mine

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Gautam Adani
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Reuters/Amit Dave

Malcolm Turnbull recently met with Gautam Adani in New Delhi, in which he made clear that native title issues will not stop the Indian billionaire’s coal mine. The prime minister is halfway through a four-day visit in India.

Turnbull reportedly perceives Adani coalmine as a project that will benefit Australians with tens of thousands of jobs and significant state and federal revenue. His discussion with Gautam Adani and company executives are focused on issues of native title, rate of progress towards the project and public financing, Sydney Morning Herald understands.

The discussion came as the Indian business tycoon prepared to make a final investment decision regarding the Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee basin amounting to US$21-billion (AU$ 28 billion). If built, it would be the biggest yet in the Land Down Under.

However, a federal court ruling threw into question over 100 proposed land use agreements with Native Title holders. One of these covers Adani's Carmichael project.

The Australian prime minister revealed that Adani noted the recent federal court ruling an issue for his development. “But frankly it's an issue for just about every development in Australia where native title issues are involved," he added. The court decision is expected to be reversed, but changes would not be passed until Parliament returns in May. Turnbull had also recently met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, the Wangan Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council questioned Turnbull's guarantee of a fix to Native Title uncertainty. Spokesperson for the tribe's governing council, Marrawa Johnson, argued that the government was trying to register a bogus Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA). "So I guess what he's promising is that there will be a legislative change that could allow for Adani's fake ILUA to be registered," he told The World Today.

Johnson said Adani could not merely depend on Turnbull’s government to modify the law for him and think they can build the largest coal mine in the world in “our country and destroy who we are as people.” He insisted that the project, at the moment, is dead as the businessman only has seven out of the 12 signatures he needs.

He added that Adani’s company does not even have what it needs to be considered for registration with the Native Title Tribunal. Environmental activists are not in favour of the mine because of the risks it brings. Emission from burning coal will drive climate change and threaten Queensland's Great Barrier Reef, ABC notes.

Video Source: YouTube/ABP NEWS

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