Adani Australia is again proceeding with preliminary construction works for the contentious Carmichael thermal coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
The move comes after the Labor state government reacted to the swing against the party in the May national election, and expedited remaining approvals.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave relevant departments prompt deadlines to resolve ‘green tape’ issues after the pro-coal federal Liberal/National Coalition was unexpectedly re-elected.
Labor lost a number of Queensland seats in what was seen as a backlash against Greens and ‘big city’ opposition, helped by a A$60M anti-Labor election spend by mining entrepreneur Clive Palmer’s Australia First party.
Palmer’s undeveloped North Alpha mine – said to be 33% bigger than Carmichael – adjoins the Indian-owned project.
Nevertheless, a senior executive of a leading project cargo forwarder, speaking to Bulk Materials International on the condition of anonymity, said his company had been “watching Adani for seven years” and still didn’t believe Carmichael was going to happen. “The financials just don’t stack up,” he said, a view shared by a range of industry analysts.
In mid-August engineering company Aurecon, which has been working for Adani and predecessor owners of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal for two decades, announced it would halt the relationship at the end of its current contract – drawing a strong reaction from Adani, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and federal resources minister Matt Canavan
“We are surprised by the decision, given the positive long-term relationship and the fact that we are not aware of any commercial issues or disputes between our companies,” Adani said in a statement.
“There has been a concerted campaign by extremists against our Carmichael project and businesses that partner with us. We have repeatedly demonstrated that we will not be intimidated or deterred from delivering on our promises to Queenslanders.”
The QRC claimed Aurecon’s decision was “based on ill-informed bullying from anti-resources activists” while Canavan called the company “a bunch of bedwetters”.