Dual approval needed for Adani Carmichael mine: Lawyer
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Sue Higginson, Principal Solicitor, EDO NSW, who represents the community group, says the mine anyway requires dual nods- from the commonwealth government’s and the state within which the mine is going to operate consent and that is Queensland. She further adds if the commonwealth minister has to approve the mine, he has to do it in accordance with the Australian laws, which he didn’t do when he last approved the mine last year. Environmentalists hailed the ruling against the controversial Carmichael mine as another setback for the project, estimated to cost up to USD 16 billion, which they say threatens two vulnerable species and will endanger the Great Barrier Reef. Below is the transcript of Sue Higginson’s interview with Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy on CNBC-TV18. Latha: Can you take us through where this case goes now, is it the final decision and now Adani cannot go ahead with mining at Carmichael? A: Today the court has set aside the commonwealth environment minister’s decision that approves the mine. So Adani now doesn’t have legal authority to commence its mine work or operate its mine. There is a prospect under Australian law once the court has set aside a decision of a commonwealth minister, the commonwealth minister can remake the decision. Now, the commonwealth minister has the power to refuse the Adani mine or approve again the mine. If he is going to approve the mine, he has to do it in accordance with the Australian laws, which he didn’t do when he last approved the mine last year. Sonia: Any note or communication from Adani Group themselves on what the next step could be from their end? A: So far we heard that Adani is saying this is a just a mere glitch, it is a technical hitch in the whole process, I think it is important to remember because in Australia there are two consents required, the commonwealth government’s consent and the state within which the mine is going to operate consent and that is Queensland. The Queensland court is also hearing a challenge to that approval and the court still hasn’t given its judgement on that approval. So the Adani Carmichael proposal is currently incomplete legal uncertainty. Latha: But you said that if the minister and the company were to abide by certain rules, they can still come back and give permission. How easy are these rules to abide by? Do Adani investors have scope to expect that mining can start if certain safeguards, caveats, conditions are met? A: Look the law does allow developments to go ahead like this but it is like a lot of things, it is about the way that decision is made and so far the decision has been made has not been a lawful one. So if the minister wants to try again to approve the mine, he has to get it legally right. Our client, the community group, says that is a difficult challenge for the minister because the impacts of this mine on the matters that the law protects are very significant impacts. Sonia: Any timeline on when the minister will decide on the approval of the mine? A: I don’t know myself, I have heard through the Australian media today. There have been some discussions about a couple of months time but that maybe considered to be quite ambitious. Adani Enterpris stock price On August 05, 2015, at 14:24 hrs Adani Enterprises was quoting at Rs 99.75, up Rs 5.35, or 5.67 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 803.90 and the 52-week low was Rs 79.85. The company’s trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 3.70 per share as per the quarter ended March 2015. The stock’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 26.96. The latest book value of the company is Rs 93.45 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 1.07.