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NGOs, Greens against Adani’s Australia project


                                                                                   The Hindu, New Delhi, 14th February, 2015



Meena Menon

‘If Adani can’t conduct its operations with transparency, how can the public trust it to protect our environment?’


The Australian Greens party and and other organisations have called for an immediate moratorium on the Adani Group’s proposal to dredge the Great Barrier Reef for a controversial coal port expansion at Abbot Point in Queensland, Australia.


Adani Enterprises bought the Abbot Point terminal for about $2 billion in May 2011.


Their reaction came following reports by Fairfax Media questioning the transparency of Adani Enterprises’ Australia operations. A statement by said the port expansion, which would make it the world’s largest, will open up a series of nine mega coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, tripling Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. The project is yet to get federal approval.


“These disturbing new allegations about Adani call into question the legitimacy of the approvals process for Abbot Point and the Galilee Basin coal mines,” said Australia CEO Blair Palese in the statement.


Mr. Palese called for a full and proper investigation into the legitimacy of Adani’s operations and a halt to the approval process following the new information uncovered by Fairfax, which reveals that most of the companies associated with Adani Enterprises’ Australian coal operations are not controlled by the public face of the company, Gautam Adani, but by his eldest brother, Vinod.


A spokesperson for the Adani Group in an email to The Hindu said: “It can be clearly seen that vested interest groups which have a single-point agenda to stop the project of national importance for both the countries and to tarnish the image of Adani Group continue to use Greens and other organisations with baseless, incorrect and imaginary stories.”


The spokesperson said Australian mining companies of the Adani Group are owned by Adani Enterprises Ltd. (AEL) partially along with AEL’s own 100 per cent step-down subsidiary, Adani Global PTE. A step-down subsidiary means subsidiary of one’s own subsidiary company.


To that extent, mining companies in Australia clearly fall within the line of ownership of AEL, which is the listed entity of the group. Therefore, to say that the Australian coal operations are not controlled by the public face of the company is false and consequent irresponsible allegation is absurd, the spokesperson added.


The Fairfax investigation said company documents revealed that Adani sold its stake in Abbot Point in 2013 to a Singaporean company. However, this was not made known to Australian authorities or the Bombay Stock Exchange. Adani was also found to still control a number of Australian companies linked to its Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin, despite excluding these companies from its 2013-14 accounts.


To this, the spokesperson said the change of ownership of Abbot Point Coal Terminal was initiated in January 2013 at the meeting of Board of Directors (BOD) of Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd. (APSEZ). The stock exchanges were informed about the decision by the company on January 28, 2013, as also on May 15, 2013.


Subsequent disclosures about the progress of the divestment of stake of APSEZ in Abbot Point Coal Terminal have been made in the annual report of APSEZ for the FY 2012-13 and FY 2013-14. These documents are available on the website of the company as also on the websites of BSE and NSE where the company’s shares are listed.


Senator Larissa Waters from the Greens party called for a probe into who controls the Abbot Point Coal Terminal and Carmichael coalmine.