Adani Australia sought to search home of activist who opposed mining project

The Court of Appeal expressed concern about how raid would affect Pennings's family

adani carmichael Representational image | Adani Australia

Opposition to the Adani Group's ambitious coal mining project in Carmichael, Australia, is continuing.

On Thursday, Australian media outlets reported that Adani Australia had attempted twice, unsuccessfully, to get legal sanction to raid the home of an activist, who is involved in protests against the Carmichael project.

ABC News reported that Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network had applied for a search order against activist Benjamin Pennings in June this year.

Adani Australia claimed Pennings possessed "confidential information on a computer in his home", which only company executives and contractors had access to. Adani Australia claimed the information was part of a concerted campaign against the coal mining project.

"Adani's court application and subsequent appeal in July were also heard ex parte, meaning they were both heard without notice," ABC News reported.

"In rejecting Adani and Carmichael Rail Network's appeal last week, the Court of Appeal ruled the evidence was ‘wholly inadequate to justify the order sought. They have failed to establish the likelihood that the use of any confidential information has resulted in any loss,’" ABC News reported.

The Court of Appeal also expressed concern about how a raid would affect Pennings's family.

On Wednesday, Adani Australia announced it was suing Pennings for disrupting its operations. "Adani is also seeking damages from Pennings for intimidation and conspiracy, and court costs," The Guardian reported.

For his part, Pennings issued a statement, noting, "Adani want to silence dissent about their destructive thermal coal project that a majority of Australians oppose. They have already bankrupted traditional owner Adrian Burragubba. I will not let a massive multi-national company threaten or bankrupt my family".

The Carmichael project got regulatory approval in June 2019, despite continuing opposition. Adani Australia had initially projected the Carmichael project would produce up to 10 million tonnes of coal per annum.

Activists have alleged the Carmichael project would cause pollution and other environmental damage and destroy indigenous cultures.

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