The Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia received the green light from developer Adani Mining, however, the massive coal project that is being contested by numerous groups as yet to secure the $900 million infrastructure loan that is needed to construct a railway for the project.
Still, the decision by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani to proceed with the project is a significant milestone for the A$16.5 billion project that would include as many as six openpit and two underground mines spanning an area of 250 km2 (95 sq miles), the Guardian reported.
Adani said the “final investment decision” by Adani Mining’s Indian parent marked “the official start of one of the largest single infrastructure – and job creating – developments in Australia’s recent history."
Adani’s top executive in Australia, Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the company was delivering on its promise to “address power poverty for hundreds of millions in India and unacceptably high unemployment in regional Queensland.”
“To those activists who sit in creature comfort and criticize us, I ask a simple question – what are you doing for those people?”
The BBC reported that the announcement followed a mining royalties deal struck between Adani and the Queensland state government a week earlier.
“There will be jobs right across the state. This project will deliver those jobs,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan said it was a welcome decision after years of delay due to court actions and government approvals.
“This is going to be the biggest investment in Australia by an Indian company ever,” he said.
Critics including environmentalists have warned that the vast quantities of coal expected to be extracted from the mine will exacerbate global warming and threaten the Great Barrier Reef.