Round two: Queensland coal mine vs Great Barrier Reef

A delegation from the Australian state of Queensland will meet the federal environment minister Tony Burke on Thursday to hammer out a deal on a massive coal project led by India’s GVK and Hancock Prospecting reports ABC.

Burke decided on Tuesday to “stop the clock” on GVK’s Alpha coal project over concerns about the impact the rail link to a port close to the Great Barrier Reef will have.

Queensland approved the proposed mine which would inject $1 billion a year into the local economy and would cost upwards of $6 billion to construct last week and federal approval should have been little more than a formality. Queensland is accusing Burke of “political posturing” over the issue.

The current stand-off is not the first time the project has created a political furore.

GVK in September last year paid $1.3 billion for Hancock Prospecting’s coal, rail and port projects. Hancock’s owner and fourth richest miner in the world, Georgina Hope Rinehart joined GVK Power’s board as part of the deal and retains a 21% stake in the mines.

GV Krishna (GVK) Reddy who steers the vast conglomerate which apart from mining and infrastructure also operates hotels and airports, is one of India’s richest men with a fortune of over $1 billion.

Rinehart and Reddy created something of a flap in Australia after sealing the deal at Reddy’s granddaughter’s $1 million wedding ceremony in Hyderabad in the presence of Australian parliamentarians.

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