Adani boss 'oversaw mine behind huge pollution disaster'

 Chingola mine is described as the biggest copper mine in Africa, producing about 2 million tonnes of ore a year. (Leigh Day lawyers, London)
Chingola mine is described as the biggest copper mine in Africa, producing about 2 million tonnes of ore a year. (Leigh Day lawyers, London)

ADANI Australia's chief executive officer was in charge of an African copper mine which allowed a flood of dangerous pollutants to pour into a Zambian river, the ABC has reported.

Jeyakumar Janakaraj has been chief executive of Adani's Australian operations since leaving Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in Zambia in 2013.

Now KCM and its parent company Vedanta Resources are being taken to the High Court in London by locals who say pollution from the company's huge Chingola open-pit copper mine made them ill and devastated nearby farmland over a 10-year period from 2004.

Mr Janakaraj was director of operations of KMC when the company was charged in 2010 with causing a serious pollution spill, which saw a toxic brew of highly acidic, metal-laden discharge released into the Kafue River, the ABC reported.

The river is one of Zambia's largest waterways and a source of water and food for about 40 per cent of the country's people.

This week an environmental group launched a legal challenge against Adani's $16 billion Carmichael coal mine on the basis the Federal Government did not properly consider climate pollution from the mine.

The Australian Conservation Foundation and Environmental Defenders Office Queensland lodged legal papers at the Brisbane Federal Court on Monday against Minister Greg Hunt's reapproval for the Galilee Basin mega mine and rail project.

EDO Queensland Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan said the environment minister did not correctly apply the law under the UN World Heritage Convention when considering the impacts the project would have on the Great Barrier Reef.

ACF President Geoff Cousins said it was the first case that had sought to test the obligations as they related to the climate change impacts on the reef caused by pollution from burning the mine's coal.

The Federal Court set aside the mine's approval in August after the Mackay Conservation Group successfully argued the mine had not properly negated its impact on two vulnerable species - the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

In October, Mr Hunt reapproved the mine, which is 160 km north-west of Clermont, with what he described as 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history.

Topics:  adani central queensland coal mine editors picks environment pollution

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