Australia Approves Adani’s Galilee Basin $7.7 Billion Coal Mine Project

SYDNEY (Australia) – India’s Adani Enterprises may soon start work on the mega Carmichael coal project in Australia after securing leases following the final environmental clearance by the government.

Adani’s controversy-hit $ 7.7 billion dollars coal mine project in Australia on Sunday won three mining leases, but the Indian mining giant said a final decision on investment will be taken only after the conclusion of “politically-motivated” legal challenges against its plans to build one of the world’s largest mines.

Australian Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham approved the grant of three individual mining leases for the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal, mine and rail project, media reports said on Sunday.

The three approved leases are 70441 Carmichael, 70505 Carmichael East and 70506 Carmichael North, which are estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal, theage.com.au reported.

Adani has said that more than 5,000 jobs are expected to be generated during construction and more than 4,000 during operation of the project.

Despite environmental activists likely to challenge the decision to grant a mining lease, Adani said it was still committed to the mine, rail and port project, which it hopes will begin construction in 2017.

But Adani warned that “politically motivated” activists who had held the project up for the past five years could still jeopardise the Galilee Basin mine, which the government claims will create 9500 jobs.

According to the report, Adani’s job creation figures had been the subject of debate since last year after revelations in court found the mega mine would create only 1,464 jobs per year, and not the 10,000 figure that was commonly associated with the project.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the approved leases have undergone “extensive government and community scrutiny” and were a step towards securing jobs for the region.

“I know the people of north and central Queensland will welcome this latest progress for the potential jobs and economic development it brings closer for their communities,” said Palaszczuk.

Welcoming the premier’s announcement, Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani said: “This final key approval reflects the confidence both sides of politics, at both the national and state level, have in our commitment to delivering major projects that will help drive exports and jobs in Australia, while delivering energy security in India.”

An Adani spokesman said that with the leases approved, the company hopes to start construction on the mine sometime next year.

“The granting of a mining lease helps deliver the company certainty with respect to timelines, while moving to the next phase of the project, subject to the resolution of legal challenges by politically-motivated activists,” he said.

The spokesman added that the mine’s approvals were the “strictest of their kind” for a major Australian resources project.

“It is for this reason that conclusion of second tier approvals and resolution of politically-motivated legal challenges is the company’s principal focus, prior to a final investment decision being made,” he said.

“Delivering low ash, low sulphur, lower emitting coal to thermal generators in India, while delivering jobs in regions crying out for them, and taxes and royalties to Queensland, is paramount,” he said.