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Engineering firm working on $21B mining project succumbs to climate change activism


An engineering consultancy will give up all future work on a foreign backed $21 billion coal development in Central Queensland.

Cardno is pulling out of tendering for any upcoming work for India-headquartered Adani Australia’s Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont.

‘Controversy’ blamed

Chairman Michael Alscher confirmed the company had consulted with clients and employees before reaching the difficult decision to end its relationship with the highly controversial mine in the coming weeks, and refrain from bidding for upcoming contracts linked to Adani.

“As a company we have decided that we will no longer do any further work with the company,” Alscher told the Cardno 2019 annual general meeting according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP). “Given the project and the controversy around that, it is best if we not participate in the project at all.”

He also confirmed the company had considered the decision from “every perspective”.

“We took into account commercial and social factors, our company values as well as feedback,” he said.

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Activists accused of bullying

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan recently called Aurecon a “bunch of bedwetters” and “weak as piss” when the consultancy previously ended its 20-year-long relationship with Adani Australia for all of its projects, including the Carmichael project.

“I’d have a lot more respect for Aurecon if they came out and were just up front and said: ‘Look, we can’t do this because we’re under pressure and we’re just too weak,’” the minister told AAP earlier.

The withdrawal came after environmental activists from the Australian Conservation Foundation repeatedly targeted executives at several companies with contracts for the project. About 30 Stop Adani protestors separately stormed the foyer of GHD’s Brisbane CBD office on August 8.

Although Alscher did not state whether any Cardno staff had been threatened, he believed withdrawing from the project was necessary.

“We believe this is the right decision for our business and our people,” he said. “We understand that there are many supporters of the project, particularly communities in Central Queensland.”

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