The global engineering company AECOM, the firm that had been designing Adani’s $2.2bn rail line to its Carmichael coalmine, says that it has severed its ties with the Indian conglomerate – but Adani denies that AECOM’s departure from the project was ahead of schedule.
Guardian Australia has been told the company and Adani ended their association with the project design part-finished. AECOM confirmed to Guardian Australia it was no longer working on Adani’s 310km rail project.
Engineering design contracts often have several milestones at which point the design is reviewed and the project then moves to another phase. The AECOM contract was ended at such a milestone with all contracts honoured. But sources have told Guardian Australia the expectation had been that AECOM would shepherd the rail project to its conclusion.
Adani remains silent on its attempts to finance the Carmichael project, having missed two deadlines, the most recent in March. It is unclear at this stage whether the company intends to engage a new contractor to pick up where AECOM left off, but Adani has frequently said it is 100% committed to Carmichael.
AECOM’s departure from the project comes amid increasing uncertainty around Adani’s ability to finance the Carmichael coalmine.
The company had sought assistance for its rail project through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (Naif) but the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has vetoed a federal loan.
Adani has also put part of its Townsville office up for rent.
A spokesman from AECOM told Guardian Australia the company was no longer working on the Adani rail project.
“Our people have demobilised,” he said. “We’ve handed over our design to the client. It’s up to them what happens after this.”
Guardian Australia understands AECOM and Adani ended their relationship after the engineering design company was unable to gain access to key sites in order to progress its design work. The reasons for that are unclear.
The executive director at Market Forces, Julien Vincent, said it was another setback for the project.
“In the past six months, Adani has lost its mine construction partner in Downer EDI, while Queensland rail company Aurizon has withdrawn its Naif application to build an alternative rail line to the Galilee basin,” he said. “Four Chinese banks also ruled out investing in the project, bringing the total number of international banks that won’t fund the Carmichael coalmine to two dozen.
“Adani’s brand is kryptonite and it comes as no surprise that AECOM has joined the long list of companies to walk away.
“It’s time Australian governments and Adani both realise that coal is the past and instead focus on the future.”
Source: The Guardian