• Galilee Basin coal mines will go ahead without Adani, says Clive Palmer
Galilee Basin coal mines will go ahead without Adani, says Clive Palmer
02 Mar, 2018, 1 Comment

Summary: Cashed-up businessman Clive Palmer said he planned to proceed with his $6.5 billion Waratah Coal mine in the Galilee Basin later this year, regardless of whether Indian energy giant Adani secures funding for its controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine.....

While Adani's mine in central Queensland has been the focus of environmental activists who want to stop all new coal mines in Australia, Mr Palmer's project and Indian company GVK/Hancock Coal's project have also worked their way through the approvals process.

Many expected Adani to be the first mover in the frontier Galilee Basin, about 400 kilometres from the Queensland coast, but it has continued to miss key funding deadlines.

Mr Palmer - who is back in the money following a recent court victory against Chinese company CITIC Pacific which netted him $300 million - said he did not believe the Adani Carmichael mine would get off the ground as it struggled to convince banks to lend to the high-profile project.

"They have got no hope. I don't think they will ever get up personally," Mr Palmer said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review.

Critics of Mr Palmer have questioned the ability of the former billionaire to push through his Galilee project given past pronouncements which haven't been followed through and the $330 million collapse of his Townsville nickel refinery in 2016 - which is still subject to numerous court actions by liquidators.

Mr Palmer's Galilee Coal Project is listed as including four underground coal mines and two open-cut coal mines with a capacity of 40 million tonnes a year. Like other Galilee projects, it would required a 450-kilometre rail line to take the coal to ports on the Queensland coast.

The Mineralogy chairman said he had no plans to sell the coal tenements saying a 2009 deal with a Chinese consortium, including MCC, Sino Coal, China Railway Corporation and ChinaPorts, to partly fund the project and receive 30 million tonnes of coal a year for 25 years still stood.

Adani's Carmichael mine has been the focus of environmental activists.
Adani's Carmichael mine has been the focus of environmental activists. Alex Ellinghausen

Mr Palmer said the upsurge in the coal price over the past 18 months had made his Galilee project more economically viable, saying the thermal coal was better quality than Indonesian coal - a major competitor.

He also took a dig at the Turnbull government for considering Adani's rail link for funding from its $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

"I don't think the government should invest in foreign projects in Australia. That said, we aren't seeking any money," he said.

GVK/Hancock Coal is planning two mines in the Galilee Basin, the $10.8 billion Alpha Coal project (30 millon tonnes export capacity) and $6 billion Kevin's Corner (has an export capacity of 30 million tonnes a year has been approved subject to conditions by state and federal government. The joint venture did not respond to media requests on Thursday.

Environmentalists and federal Labor frontbencher Mark Butler have questioned the quality of the coal in the Galilee Basin, but Adani produced an independent report earlier this week which showed the ash and energy content of the coal ranked it highly among Asian markets.

Adani said it was still committed to its Carmichael mine, saying it had invested $3.3 billion in Australia and had 800 staff. It said the self-imposed March funding deadline would not be met because of the Queensland government's decision to veto any potential NAIF loan.

Mr Palmer last month announced he would be funding the re-launch of his Palmer United Party which would contest every seat at the next federal election.


  • MyPassion

    03 Mar, 2018

    Instead of building and new railway to Mackay would it not be cheaper to look at transporting it to Emerald and linking it to the existing rail that takes it to Gladstone ports???
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