Indian conglomerate Adani Group plans to begin extracting coal from the $16.5 billion Carmichael project in Australia in 2020-21, PTI reported on May 14, citing Chairman Gautam Adani.
The group, which has interests from ports to power, would finalise by June an investment decision for the project, which has been delayed due to protests from environmental groups.
Adani expressed his group is not just investing in coal but also in renewable energy in Australia, seeking to develop 1,500 MW of solar projects by 2022.
It has signed pacts to build two solar farms, each with capacity of 100-200MW in Queensland and South Australia.
Adani said the company has scaled down the coal mine capacity in the first phase. Originally seen producing 60 million tons a year from six open-cut pits and five underground mines, a scaled-down first stage is now planned to produce 25 million tons a year of coal and will cost over USD 4 billion.
"We will begin work within months after getting final approval from the Australian government," he said.
Projections of a global glut of coal and prolonged low prices notwithstanding, Adani is pushing ahead with plans to build the mine that would produce thermal coal to generate electricity and operate for six decades.
"About 15 million tons of coal produced from the project (in the northern Australian state of Queensland) will be shipped to India for generating electricity," he said.
The group has for more than five years battled opposition from green groups, who insist any expansion of the port will cut into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The port is to be used for exporting coal to India.
"A port already exists with capacity to handle coal from phase-one," he said adding a rail line will have to be built for transporting coal from the mines to the port.
The group has so far invested A$3.4 billion on the Abbot Point port and preparatory work for the Carmichael coal mine. It has applied for an Australian government agency loan to finance the railway line.
Adani said he is expecting Australian federal and state government nods for the coal project soon.
(Writing by Becky Du Editing by Harry Huo)
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