Adani $12 billion Carmichael coal project closer to lease

Indian conglomerate Adani Group’s $12bn (A$16.5bn) Carmichael coal mine and rail project is closer than ever to receiving the green light after the company reached final compensation agreements with Australian landholders in the untapped Galilee Basin province in central Queensland.

The compensation deals remove the last hurdles for Adani to obtain the coveted mining licence.

The deals, reached after almost six years of environmental assessments and legal battles, remove the last hurdles State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said needed to be overcome before he could consider issuing the permits.

The compensation agreements with the Isaac Regional Council and a cattle station remove the last hurdles that State Development Minister Anthony Lynham this year said that needed to be overcome before he could consider issuing the leases.

The Carmichael project has faced relentless opposition from organizations ranging from the United Nations to green groups fighting new coal projects, which has scared banks from lending to the project. In October, the company got a big relief when the Australian government re-issued the environment approval for the project under what environment minister Greg Hunt called “the strictest conditions in Australian history."

Adani $12 billion Carmichael coal project closer to lease

Galilee Basin coal export projects map. (Courtesy of of GalileeBasin.org)

First proposed in 2010, the massive coal project —set to produce about 60 million tons of coal a year mainly for export— has been reviewed several times in response to concerns highlighted by authorities and stakeholders.

An earlier plan to dump 3 million cubic metres of soil dredged at Abbot Point into the sea about 25 km (15 miles) from the Great Barrier Reef was rejected. Since then, the company has signed up buyers for about 70% of the 40 million tonnes coal the Carmichael project is due to produce in its first phase, with production expected to begin in late 2017.

According to official estimations, Carmichael will contribute $2.97bn each year to Queensland’s economy and has the potential to create 6,400 new jobs: around 2,500 construction positions and 3,900 operational posts.

If built, Carmichael would be Australia's largest coal mine.