It has been quite the week for Adani with the striking of their first coal at the Queensland Carmichael coal mine, having several major investors withdraw support and trying to withhold key particulars of the case they have brought against prominent Stop Adani activist Ben Pennings.
Adani are accusing Mr Pennings of having confidential information on his computer ‘which was being used in a concerted campaign of “intimidation and conspiracy” against the Galilee Basin coal project’.
On March 2, Adani asked the Supreme Court to make broad confidentiality orders permanently banning Mr Penning’s lawyers from telling him what confidential information Adani says he’s already received. This morning, June 25, Supreme Court Justice Susan Brown will rule on whether Adani will be allowed to withhold key particulars of the civil case they have brought according to a media release from Mr Pennings.
‘Ben’s legal team argued that he will have a fundamental difficulty in defending the case if those orders are made. Sensationally, Adani’s Barrister admitted in court they’ve NEVER HAD EVIDENCE that Ben has accessed Adani’s confidential information, the core component of their case against him,’ says the statement.
Adani has been pursuing Ben Pennings through the courts since June 2020. It is a core part of Adani’s case that Ben allegedly called for, obtained and used Adani’s and Carmichael Rail’s confidential information, including through leaks to Ben by the companies’ employees and future contractors. The words ‘confidential information’ are used on around 100 separate occasions in the claim, being around 67 per cent of the paragraphs of the claim.
‘Adani is suing me for taking their confidential information, but admitted in court they have no evidence of this. Withholding details of the case against me threatens my fundamental right to natural justice,’ says Mr Pennings.
‘I need to know what exactly Adani says I did wrong, so that I can successfully defend this case and end the ongoing pain this is causing my family.
‘Adani’s attack dog legal strategy is well known. Bullying Australians doesn’t change the fact that most of us oppose Adani’s coal mine that threatens our lives and livelihoods. So long as Adani threatens my family and the environment we all share I will do everything lawfully in my powers to stop them.’
Last week the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre released a landmark report on powerful vested interests trying to silence dissent through Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs). Adani’s case against Mr Penningsn is one of 355 cases that bear the hallmarks of SLAPPs brought or initiated by big business actors globally between January 2015–May 2021.
Investors pull out
According to the #StopAdani group this week, multinational giant Samsung announced it sold Adani Ports shares over concerns with the Carmichael coal project and overnight, Nordic pension giants KLP and Storebrand have followed suit, dumping Adani Ports over concerns with Adani’s coal mine and Adani Ports’ links to the Myanmar military.
‘Adani’s photo opportunity with nine lumps of coal comes after billions of dollars spent on site and ten years after they started their project, but Adani has a long way to go before they have an operational coal mine,’ say #StopAdani in a press release today.
‘ Adani still need: To build an operational coal mine, To build a 200km rail line connecting mine and port which has been subject to consistent flooding due to its location on a floodplain, To build a major coal handling processing plant, Approval and access to water after the Federal Court found an “error of law” with Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme approval process.
‘Adani has breached their approvals for the Carmichael coal mine and rail project seven times already, Adani cannot be trusted to follow the rules.’
Coal is coming
According to Bravus (Adani Carmichael mine that was renamed in November 2020) Mining and Resources CEO David Boshoff they are ‘on track to export first coal as promised, in 2021’.
Mr Boshoff said Bravus (aka Adani) had already secured the market for the 10 million tonne per annum of coal produced at the Carmichael Mine.
Week of action
#StopAdani is organising a week of actions that will be taking place throughout the country starting on Monday, 28 June through to Friday, 2 July, 2021.
‘A key aim is to increase the pressure on HSBC, a major Adani bond holder, to stop funding the project. The Gold Coast campaign will focus on the HSBC offices there. One action is a letter drop to HSBC on Friday, 2 July,’ said the Northern Rivers Guardians in their recent newsletter.
For more information on actions near you go to the #StopAdani website.