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8 years behind schedule: What Adani has vs what was planned

In 2010, Adani spent billions buying the Carmichael mining rights and the coal port at Abbot Point. It planned to open Australia’s biggest ever coal mine in 2014 and a coal port on the Great Barrier Reef. But it didn’t count on Australia’s biggest ever social movement rising to take them on. Adani are now mining some coal at the Carmichael mine, but there’s a big difference between what Adani planned and what it has now.

Adani planned to have an operating coal mine in 2014 but is now hoping to ship first coal in 2021

  • EIS documents planned a 2 million tonne output of coal in 2014, scaling to 27 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2017 and producing a maximum of 60 mtpa by 2022.1
  • If Adani’s mine had gone to plan, by the end of 2021, the company would have shipped a total of 219Mt of coal from the mine.2 When burnt this would have released 408 Mt of CO2 by 2021 – more than all of Australia emitted from burning fossil fuels in 2020.3


Adani planned a $26.5 billion mine, but now bills Carmichael as a $2 billion project.

  • Adani planned a capital expenditure of $4.1 billion for the construction of the mine, $16.4 billion for the operation of the mine, $6 billion for the construction of the rail line to the Abbot Point coal port.4 The total capital investment originally planned was $26.5 billion. Media often reported it as a $22 billion investment.
  • Carmichael is now billed as a $2 billion project. After failing to secure finance in Australia or overseas Adani announced they would fund a scaled down $2 billion version of the Carmichael mine using the resources of the Adani Group.5

Adani claimed the mine would provide $22 billion in taxes and royalties, but instead have a special royalty deal, amounting to an estimated $271 million public subsidy.

  • An expert report given as evidence in the Queensland Land Court found the project would produce $4.8 billion in royalties.6 In 2020 the Queensland government signed off on a special deal for Adani to defer royalty payments for an undisclosed period, effectively amounting to what is estimated to be a $271 million dollar taxpayer subsidy to Adani.7

Adani planned 6 open cut pits and 5 underground mines, but has just the start of one.

  • Adani planned 6 massive open cut pits over a distance of 45 km and 5 underground long wall mines.8
  • It has a long way to go, and lots of money to spend, to develop the mine.

Adani sought to mine coal for 90 years, but now plans to mine for 24 years.

  • Adani’s original EIS sought approval to mine coal for 90 years.9 A secondary EIS document forecast a mine life of 60 years.10
  • Adani’s 2021 financial statements set the end of mine life for 2046. Reducing the mine life to 24 years11.

Adani planned a 400km rail line with a haulage contract, but has a 200km rail line.

  • Adani planned to build a 400km rail line connecting the Carmichael mine to the Adani Abbot Point Port in Bowen.
  • Adani applied for a $1 billion dollar government loan through the North Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF)12. Adani was forced to downscale its rail plans after the community compelled the Queensland Government to veto the NAIF loan.
  • Coal haulage companies refused contracts with Adani, so Adani had to set up a new haulage company13, purchase trains and wagons, and haul the coal itself.

Adani planned a 1GW coal fired power station, a new airport and workers camp - but scrapped all three.

  • Adani planned to build a permanent workers accommodation village with 2000 beds 14. The camp was never built, temporary workers camps were upgraded instead.
  • Adani planned to build a new airport with a 240m long by 90m wide runway. The airport was never built, with an existing airstrip that serviced the Moray Downs cattle station being upgraded instead.
  • Adani planned a 1GW new coal fired power station and has approvals to do so, but has abandoned this plan.

Adani planned a new coal terminal at Abbot Point, but scrapped the plan after failing to find finance and successful community campaigns against dredging in the Reef.

  • Adani planned to expand its Abbot Point coal port, with the expectation that there would be millions of tonnes of coal to go offshore. The expansion was planned to cost $430 million15 and would have added a second wharf, rail loop, shiploader and onshore stockyard machines and increased the export capacity of the port to 90 million tonnes per annum. The expansion controversially required dredging in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the dumping of 3 million cubic metres of dredged soil. Adani’s plans were approved by the Federal government16. Adani’s planned Terminal 0 has been scrapped.
  • And as a result of campaigning on this and other coal port expansions, the Federal and Queensland Governments banned dredging and dumping on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The port expansion failed to secure finance with Deutsche Bank refusing to fund it17 and the planned expansion was shelved.
  • Abbot Point port coal export capacity remains at 50 mtpa. The port has withheld capacity while the Carmichael mine has been under construction, in order to accommodate coal volumes from the mine once operational.

Adani plans a 120km water pipeline for the mine, but still does not have approval.

  • Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme was planned to pump water from the Suttor River along a 120km long pipeline to the mine site where it would be used to wash coal and suppress dust. The pipeline is still not built.
  • The Federal Court determined the Federal Environment Minister made an error of law when approving the pipeline without assessing the impacts on water through applying a feature of our national environmental laws called the “water trigger”.
  • Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme is not built and is still in the assessment process and is not approved. Adani has built a massive water storage dam for drained groundwater that needs to be pumped out of the earth ahead of mining. Some of this water is being used by Adani however a great deal of secrecy remains about Adani’s water supply. Adani has refused to detail its current water supply18 and the Queensland government has refused to scrutinise their current water use19.
  • Adani’s own data has shown a significant drop in the water level of at least one underground aquifer, prompting concerns from scientists and Traditional Owners20 that permanent damage to the sacred and ecologically important and groundwater dependent Doongmabulla Springs may have been locked in.

Adani planned to build the infrastructure for other mines to follow, but is going it alone in the Galilee Basin.

  • There are at least 9 proposed mega coal mines in the Galilee Basin that together are planned to produce around 330 million tonnes of coal a year. But only Adani’s Carmichael mine has made any progress in the 8 years.
  • The Clive Palmer owned Galilee coal project is currently being contested in court on environmental and human rights grounds.21 The company Waratah Coal has reportedly prepared a new mine plan, in response to community objections.
  • The Waratah Coal Alpha North project (owned by Clive Palmer), the GVK Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner projects (owned by Gina Rinehart), and the AMCI South Galilee Project have all been stalled for the last eight years, and are extremely unlikely to proceed.
  • The Macmines China Stone project next to Adani’s mine is all but abandoned.22


Adani's mine factsheet



2. Adani Mining Pty Ltd (2010) Initial Advice Statement, Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, 22 October 2010, Assuming a linear annual increase in production from 2014 towards the 2022 goal of 60Mtpa

3.Assuming a 90 kg CO2-e/GJ emissions factor for Carmichael coal. Emissions comparison source: bp Statistical Review of World Energy 2021

4., P. 5




8. P.4

9. P.1

10. P. 17 - 18 ,




14. P.98









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