Australia

Construction on Adani coal mine in Queensland to begin next year

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The Indian mining giant has announced it will self-finance the controversial mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin.

Indian mining giant Adani has announced construction of its controversial mine in Queensland will begin next year, but it won't be Australia's largest mine as initially proposed.  

Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow was in Mackay on Thursday to announce the project has all the funds it needs to move forward with its Carmichael mine in the state's Galilee Basin.

Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group during a press conference at a press conference in Mumbai.
Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group during a press conference at a press conference in Mumbai.
Getty

"The project stacks up both environmentally and financially," he said.

"Today's announcement removes any doubt as to the project stacking up financially."

The company last month announced it was scaling back the size and scope of the project from an output of 60 million tonnes a year, to a more manageable 10 to 15 million tonnes a year.

Environmental campaigners have stymied Adani's efforts to get funding approval for the project from Australian banks or from the federal government's infrastructure fund.

Mine will be less than half the size of the initial plan

Mr Dow confirmed the move to downsize the project, which will now be "comparable to many other Queensland coal mines".

Initially the project was valued at $16.5 billion, which would have made it the largest such mine in Australia. 

Mr Dow said the company will be building a smaller open cut mine. Production will be ramped up over time to 27 million tonnes a year, down from the initial proposal of 60 million tonnes.

"We have already invested $3.3 billion in Adani’s Australian businesses, which is a clear demonstration of our capacity to deliver a financing solution for the revised scope of the mine and rail project," he said.

He said the Carmichael Project will deliver more than 1,500 direct jobs just during the initial ramp-up and construction phase, and support thousands more indirect jobs.

"We will now deliver the jobs and business opportunities we have promised for North Queensland and Central Queensland, all without requiring a cent of Australian taxpayer dollars," he said.

"In addition to providing these jobs in regional Queensland our Carmichael coal will also provide a power source to improve living standards in developing countries."

Greens party, environmental activists vow to stop the project

But despite the smaller size and promise of jobs, news of its go-ahead has sparked a furious reaction from those concerned about the mine's impact on the climate, including Queensland Greens senator Larissa Waters.

Her NSW colleague, David Shoebridge MP described the situation as "madness".

"We've just had unprecedented weather events in NSW and Queensland. Adani will dig up 2.3 billion tonnes of coal and burn it. Climate change is already destroying lives, livelihoods and communities. It’s madness to let this deadly mega coal mine go ahead," Mr Shoebridge tweeted.

Activist group the Galilee Blockade have set up a 'fighting fund' to stop the Adani project.

The mining project has yet to finalise environmental management plans required by the Queensland and federal governments. Adani said the process is "routine" and it expects those technicalities to soon be approved.

Several legal challenges are also underway.

Adani mine
Anti-Adani supporters hold placards at a protest against the controversial mine in Bondi, Sydney.
AAP

Federal government praises project

The federal government has supported the project, with Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan welcoming news of the imminent construction of the Carmichael mine.

He praised the company for resisting "ill-informed protest activity and an indecisive state Labor Government".

"Adani’s ability to re-scope and finance its Carmichael mine and rail project proves it is a viable, job-creating concern which stands on its own two feet financially and environmentally," he said.

The Queensland Labor government has opposed the project, vetoing Adani's plan to seek $1 billion of taxpayer funds via a loan through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

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