Speculation that Indian conglomerate Adani Group is about to cancel its controversial Abbot Point port and mining project in northern Queensland surfaced on 24 June following reports that it had halted all engineering work on the project.
The reports, attributed to industry sources, were first published by The Guardian after a saga of setbacks, court cases, and protests surrounding the project.
On 22 June, around 100 indigenous landowners and environmentalists held a protest outside the port before walking to the terminal to deliver a hand-written pledge to protect the Great Barrier Reef from port-expansion plans.
Conservation groups and indigenous leaders have also taken Adani to court to oppose the project and campaigned in 2014 against dredging at the site.
Protestors have been running online campaigns to get banks and organisations, such as Norway’s USD900 billion sovereign wealth fund, to divest coal investments and agree against backing the Adani project.
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The Guardian reported on 24 June that Adani had advised four major engineering contractors to stop work on projects at the Galilee Basin mine and rail line, and the AUD1.2 billion (USD927 million) Abbot Point coal terminal.
Also impacting any Adani management decision is the slump in the world thermal coal price, alongside a new Indian government policy favouring domestic coal and renewables.
Adani Mining Australia posted AUD1.3 billion debt in its latest annual report released in March.
An official for Korean POSCO Engineering and Construction Australia Pty Ltd, a contractor for the port project, has not responded to IHS Maritime’s request for comments, while Queensland Bulk Ports has declined to comment.
In a media statement provided to IHS Maritime, Adani remained ambiguous, saying that in the past 6-12 months, the company had maintained a level of investment and subcontractor engagement for its mine, rail, and port projects in anticipation of final approval.
“Adani has made a commitment to build a long-term future with Queensland,” the statement read. “However, it is important to note we are now in the fifth year of development [and] the need to finalise those approvals and timelines is critical.”