Siemens to Held Australian Coal Project Despite Protests
German engineering group Siemens said it would fulfil its contractual obligations to a controversial coal mining project in Australia’s outback, attracting criticism from environmental groups on Monday.
Siemens was awarded a contract last year to provide signaling technology for a railway line to transport coal from a remote coal mine run by India’s Adani Group in northern Queensland state.
The German company had said it would decide by Monday on its involvement in the project.
On Saturday, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg called for Siemens to review its role in the project.
“There is practically no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract without neglecting fiduciary duties,” Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser said in a statement.
Local and federal governments approved the project based on the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as well as hundreds of pages of environmental impact statements, Siemens said.
“While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders, as long as they have lawful legitimation for what they do,” Kaeser said.
“We should have been wiser about this project beforehand. Now, we need to be a supplier who sticks to its commitments as long as the customer stays on legal grounds, too. Because being a company which is not a reliable source for its customers is simply not an option.”
Adani said it was pleased to be working with Siemens and that it would not be “intimidated or deterred” from delivering on its promises of jobs for locals and coal for developing nations.
Environmental activists slammed the decision and pledged to continue their protests, concerned the continued use of coal will lead to higher emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas which is linked to global warming.
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