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Adani gets Australian approval for $1.94 bn rail project

Melbourne, Sep 25 The Adani Group Thursday said it has won the Australian government’s approval to build a $1.94 billion rail line for its Carmichael coal mine project.

“Following on from the Commonwealth Government’s approval of the Carmichael mine, as well as the Queensland Coordinator General’s approval of the North Galilee Basin Rail Project (NGBR) in August, Adani welcomes today’s (Thursday) announcement of the approval by Environment Minister Greg Hunt of the NGBR,” the company said in a statement here.

The group was accorded approval by the Australian government late in July for its $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project in central Queensland.

The project in the Galilee Basin, which will become Australia’s largest coal mine, is expected to provide electricity for up to 100 million people in India.

“Today’s approval is a significant milestone in the life of our integrated mine, rail and port project, helping transition from approvals to the build phase.” said the group’s country head Jeyakumar Janakaraj.

“Our long term future with Queensland will mean more than 10,000 jobs, USD 22 billion in taxes and royalties to the state, and by helping deliver energy security, will light the lives of millions of Indians,” he added.

Last month, the Adanis agreed to pay Australian dollars 155 million ($145 million) to Linc Energy of Australia to buy out the Australian firm’s rights to future royalties from the Carmichael coal project.

The Carmichael project to be developed by Adani Mining involves open cut and underground coal mining in the north Galilee Basin which will produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per year as well as lead to development of 189 km of new rail infrastructure.

The project has an estimated 60-year resource value of $300 billion and at full production is projected to add $2.97 billion to Queensland economy each year, according to the Australian High Commission here.

Coal will be taken via a new rail line to the port of Abbot Point where Adanis will build a coal export terminal. Five million tonnes of seabed will be dug up and dumped within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in order to expand Abbot Point port.

Australia’s Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said strict conditions imposed on the project will ensure protection of environment.

The Indian company will be required to ensure at least 730 megalitres of water are returned to the environment every year for five years.

Adanis are also required to monitor the condition of groundwater, offset the impact of cleared habitat and assess the impact to threatened species.

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