Adani Group has decided to proceed with its A$16 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Chairman Gautam Adani this week signed off on the project, which is one of the world’s largest thermal coal mines approved in recent years.
Adani’s decision comes just days after it agreed to pay the state royalties on coal produced there and follows ongoing opposition to the project by organisations ranging from the United Nations to environmentalists, indigenous groups and locals.
The Indian company has spent more than $120 million in legal fees and negotiating its way through a myriad of environmental snags that delayed the first phase of the mine.
“We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in the inner city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project,” said Gautam Adani. “We are still facing activists. But we are committed to the project.
“I am proud to announce the project has Final Investment Decision (FID) approval which marks the official start of one of the largest single Infrastructure – and job-creating – developments in Australia’s recent history.”
Pre-construction work on the project is expected to begin in the September quarter. The company says the project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs while official estimations state that the mine will contribute $2.97 billion each year to Queensland’s economy and has the potential to create 6400 new jobs - around 2500 construction positions and 3900 operational posts.
Adani expects to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal from Carmichael annually for export, fueling power generation for 100 million Indians.
In a statement welcoming the news, Minerals Council of Australia executive director – coal Greg Evans said, “The majority of coal mined will go directly to Adani-owned coal fired generation and hence establishes a new market for Australian coal.
“The activists need to reflect on how they sought to stop jobs for regional Queensland families and other Australians, and also how they wanted to deny economic and social advancement of millions of Indian people seeking the very modest benefit of accessible electricity,” he said.
The company still has to secure full financing for the project. After being refused backing by some key banks, Adani has applied for a $1 billion loan from the Federal Government that would help it build the planned 388km rail line to Abbot Point.