Adani’s $7-b Aus­tralian coal project gets green light, again

59 STIFF RIDERS IN­CLUDE WA­TER CON­SER­VA­TION, PRO­TEC­TION OF BIRD SPECIES IN PERIL

Resource Digest - - CONTENTS -

The five-year-old pro­posal of Adani Group to build one of the world’s largest coal mines Down Un­der got a new lease of life with the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment re-is­su­ing the en­vi­ron­ment clear­ance for the project but with 59 stiff caveats.

Adani Min­ing Pty Ltd in­tends to in­vest $16 bil­lion in an in­te­grated project to de­velop the Carmichael coal mine near Queens­land with al­lied in­fra­struc­ture of a rail link and port at Ab­bot to trans­port coal to In­dia.

Last July, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment had given the ap­provals, but in Au­gust 2014 they were set aside by the Fed­eral Court to ad­dress a tech­ni­cal er­ror on the part of the En­vi­ron­ment Depart­ment.

Re­cently, Aus­tralian En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt is­sued the fi­nal Fed­eral ap­proval for the Carmichael Mine and North Galilee Basin Rail. Adani had planned to ship 40 mil­lion tonnes of coal a year in the first phase of mine de­vel­op­ment.

“The con­di­tions I have im­posed take into ac­count is­sues raised by the com­mu­nity and en­sure that the pro­po­nent must meet the high­est en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards,” Hunt said in a state­ment.

The con­di­tions in­clude pro­tect­ing and im­prov­ing 31,000 hectares of habi­tat for an en­dan­gered Finch, pro­tect­ing ground­wa­ter and pro­vid­ing A$1 mil­lion in fund­ing for re­search to im­prove con­ser­va­tion of threat­ened species in the Galilee Basin.

Re­act­ing to the de­vel­op­ment, the Adani Group said the com­pany looks for cer­tainty in get­ting the re­main­ing ap­provals to progress with the plan to de­liver mine, rail and port projects. The project will cre­ate 10,000 direct and in­di­rect jobs and gen­er­ate A$22 bil­lion in taxes and roy­al­ties to be rein­vested back into com­mu­nity ser­vices.

“We look for­ward to the re­main­ing gov­ern­ment ap­provals be­ing dealt with promptly to en­sure th­ese job-cre­at­ing projects get back on track, so the much-needed eco­nomic ben­e­fits of this project can com­mence and we can con­tinue with our as­pi­ra­tion to build a long-term fu­ture in Queens­land,” it added.

FUnd­ing ChAl­lenge

Ty­ing up funds for the project may be the next big chal­lenge for the Ada­nis as sev­eral French and Ger­man banks have said they will not fi­nance a coal min­ing project in the Galilee Basin, while Stan­dard Char­tered and Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia pulled out of the project this Au­gust.

This apart, the sharp fall in coal prices in the re­cent past has hit the coal econ­omy Down Un­der and some of the mines have shut oper­a­tions. Last month, the 128-year-old Rus­sell Vale Col­liery owned by Wol­lon­gong Coal, in which Jin­dal Steel and Power has ma­jor­ity stake, de­cided to shut oper­a­tions due to ris­ing op­er­a­tional costs and dip­ping fuel prices.

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