New spanner in the works for Adani megamine

The latest news and gossip from Brisbane's business movers and shakers - this is City Beat:

 

ADANI'S LATEST HEADACHE

The company formerly known as Adani (now Bravus) faces a fresh headache after the state government confirmed this week it had launched an investigation into allegations of new environmental breaches at the enormous Carmichael coal mine.

The Indian resources giant, which has previously copped fines for such violations, denies any wrongdoing.

Greenies sparked the probe after claiming that a failure to prepare construction sites along the rail corridor to the mine had resulted in serious pollution and environmental damage last month as a result of flooding.

Activists with the Mackay Conservation Group warned that the contamination had already potentially impacted waters flowing into wetlands and, ultimately, the Great Barrier Reef.

"The Government must urgently inspect all construction sites on the Carmichael railway line to ensure that they are following the rules that are supposed to protect our precious waterways from sediment pollution,'' group operative Peter McCallum said.

David Boshoff
David Boshoff

Lawyers with Environmental Justice Australia hammered home that demand in a letter to Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon, calling for an investigation of alleged flood mitigation failures, sediment control breaches and other violations at three locations.

That request has been flicked over to the Queensland Co-ordinator-General's office, which imposed a huge number of environmental conditions on the mine and the 200km-long North Galilee Basin Rail project linking it the port.

A QGC spokesman confirmed a probe was now under way.

Bravus, now headed by David Boshoff, rejected the latest salvo from its diehard critics as "false allegations'' that continue "a decade-long misinformation campaign''.

"There was widespread and localised flooding during January, and some parts of our site were inundated with storm water,'' a spokeswoman said, noting that greenies had snuck onsite illegally to take photos.

"Flooding or significant movement of water across the site, does not mean we are not compliant with our conditions….

"We monitor all our environmental controls frequently, including during periods of heavy rain such as those in January, and we believe all of them to be operating in accordance with our conditions."

The latest dust-up between the two warring camps comes after Bravus paid nearly $26,000 in fines late last year for failing to implement a species management plan within a required time frame.

The company downplayed the matter as "two minor compliance issues''.

Bravus was also fined $20,000 for giving the State Government false or misleading information about land clearing in 2018.

The miner, which could have been hit with a $3 million penalty, blamed an administrative error for the stuff-up.

A year earlier the firm's Abbot Point coal facility was fined more than $12,000 for releasing water curing a cyclone that contained eight times more sediment than was permitted.

FIGHTING 'FAKES'

A Queensland company associated with the legacy of late great racing legend Peter Brock has taken legal action to stop a competitor selling allegedly bogus auto parts.

Yeppoon-based car parts and accessories business HDT filed a claim in Brisbane Federal Court this month to restrain rival operator, The Wheel Gallery in Melbourne, from flogging what it claims are counterfeit HDT wheels.

HDT boss Peter Champion was a close friend and professional colleague of Brock, who acquired the esteemed Holden Dealer Team in 1979 and became its manager.

Following Brock's untimely death in a racing smash in 2006, Champion acquired the assets of the Holden Dealer Team the following year and has continued to operate the business since then. It generated nearly $800,000 in sales in the last financial year.

Peter Champion
Peter Champion

Champion told City Beat that he wasn't chasing monetary damages from The Wheel Gallery, which has not yet lodged a defence in the case.

"It's not about the money to me. It's about making people know that they're not allowed to do this with a trademark,'' he said.

Champion discovered the alleged infringement after spotting what he claims were bogus HDT wheels online and ordering some to inspect. He claims the real and fake versions are made in the same factory in China.

The real HDT wheels sell for $525, while the others are $100 cheaper.

It's not the first time he's had the problem, either. Last year HDT settled another trademark infringement case against a different auto parts retailer on confidential terms.

The problem of counterfeiting is so pervasive that Champion said he's had to hire a full-time staffer just to keep an eye on bogus products on eBay and elsewhere online. He's also had to deal with consumers who complain to him about fake HDT products.

One of The Wheel Gallery's co-owners, Hassan Halwani, declined to comment Wednesday.

GOING MAINSTREAM

You know that cryptocurrency is going fully mainstream when one of the world's leading automakers embraces it.

We learned this week that Elon Musk and his electric vehicle giant Tesla had acquired $US1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin.

That represents about 8 per cent of the company's liquid assets, including cash.

Tesla also suggested that it would start accepting payments with the alternative currency as global sales of electric cars are tipped to keep growing strongly.

Paul Engeman
Paul Engeman

Closer to home, the first company in Australia to build and list a precious metals-backed cryptocurrency has seen demand go "completely through the roof'' largely because of the pandemic and related economic issues around the world.

Paul Engeman, boss of Brisbane-based Ainslie Bullion, which first started trading in gold and silver in 1974, said volumes of bullion and Bitcoin had spiked more than 400 per cent in the past year.

"With the political chaos in the US, worldwide debt higher than ever before, an overbought share market, interest rates returning next to nothing for savings in the bank, and COVID-19 lockdowns looking to continue in developed western countries, many people are genuinely worried where to store their wealth," he said.

"We've just never seen this kind of volume before.

"Demand for gold, silver, Bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies is just skyrocketing.''

Originally published as New spanner in the works for Adani megamine



Council to pursue $15,000 debt from rugby club

Premium Content Council to pursue $15,000 debt from rugby club

The amount relates to water consumption and rates from July 2019 onwards, when the...

Man dies after being pulled from water near Byron Bay

Premium Content Man dies after being pulled from water near Byron Bay

Emergency crews were called to two separate drowning incidents in NSW on the...

Countdown for popular Northern Rivers ball begins

Premium Content Countdown for popular Northern Rivers ball begins

The ‘important’ event highlighting Richmond Valley reconciliation progress is set...