May 12, 2017 - Indian energy giant Adani today said a final investment decision on its 21.7 billion dollar Carmichael coal mine project in Australia’s Queensland state was expected within this month. The controversy-hit Carmichael coal mine project, one of the world’s largest, is expected to start construction this year after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments. Adani said a 900 million dollar loan to build a railway line to Carmichael coal mine is now critical to the project, despite previously insisting that the company did not need the loan, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.”All commercial elements of the financial equation are regularly reviewed. They have moved from where they were some months ago,” company spokesman Ron Watson was quoted as saying by the report.
Adani said a final investment decision on the Carmichael mine and rail project was expected within the next two to three weeks, opening the way for construction to start in August, the report said. The spokesman said the details of financing were expected to be finalised by the end of the year. The project, which involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to be later disposed off on land, last month received approval for a water licence from Queensland state government. The 400-kilometre railway line would link Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin to the port at Abbot Point, north of Bowen town. The company signed a 74 million dollar landmark deal with Australian steel group Arrium on May 4 to buy steel for the rail line.
In December, Adani had applied for the loan to build the line through the North Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), which was set up to encourage private sector investment in the region, it said. According to rules, NAIF can only support projects that are “unlikely to proceed or will only proceed at a much later date, or with a limited scope, without financial assistance”, the report said. Meanwhile, Adani Australia has been advised by Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that the Australian Labor Party will offer bipartisan support to the Commonwealth government’s amendments to the Native Title Act, the company said in a statement.
The amendments will be presented to the Senate next month. “Adani Australia welcomes the bipartisan approach which will benefit Traditional Land Owners, facilitate more than 120 projects, and generate tens of thousands of jobs across Australia,” the company said. Shorten, who in the past has extended his support to the project, was opposed to the granting of a Commonwealth loan, the ABC reported. The proposed railway line would be open to other users, with Minister for Northern Australia senator Matt Canavan saying it had the potential to spur at least another three mining ventures. “The level of wealth that could be unlocked is comparable to that of the Hunter Valley or the Bowen Basin,” Canavan said.
The Carmichael coal mine project has been dogged by delays, facing opposition from several environmentalist groups as well as members of the indigenous community. Green groups are opposed to the project, saying carbon emitting fossil fuels should be phased out to tackle climate change. The Adani group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.