Infrastructure major GVK today said it has got environment clearance from the Queensland government in Australia for its USD 10 billion (about Rs 55,000 crore) Alpha Coal and rail project in Galilee Basin.
The clearance is a major achievement for the company and its Alpha Project which is considered to be one of the biggest coal projects in Australia,GVK said.
The company is now the only Galilee Basin proponent with an approved Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),it added.
The project,expected to generate 4,000 jobs at peak,is being run by Hancock Coal in which 79 per cent is owned by GVK and 21 per cent by Gina Rinehart,the world’s richest woman.
Last year,GVK paid USD 1.26 billion to buy the coal assets and related logistics infrastructure in Australia from Hancock through group company GVK Coal Developers (Singapore).
GVK Chairman and Managing Director GVK Reddy said the development will pave the way for the group to complete the financing and secure final mining approvals for the Alpha Project in the second half of 2012.
“We remain committed to developing our world class projects in a timely and responsible manner and ultimately bring widespread benefits to this great state,” Reddy said.
GVK Vice Chairman Sanjay Reddy said the EIS is yet another milestone towards the goal and the company believes that it can provide the best quality coal to supply power to developing countries.
Sanjay Reddy had earlier said GVK would be investing USD 10 billion in the first phase of development of the Hancock project and are mulling to sell some stake in the project to raise funds.
Meanwhile,in a separate statement,the Queensland government said the Coordinator-General has approved environmental clearance to the mine with strict conditions and the move is a major step towards opening up the Galilee Basin’s coal deposits.
It added,however,that although the Coordinator-General completed the assessment,the Federal Minister for Environment of Australia is yet to complete his assessment under the Commonwealth environmental legislation.
“The proposal is for 30 million tons per year open-cut coal mine and a 495 km railway line from the mine to the Port of Abbot Point near Bowen and the project is expected to generate up to 3,600 construction jobs and 990 operational jobs,” said Jeff Seeney,Deputy Premier,Minister for State Development,Infrastructure and Planning,Queensland.
Hancock Coal expects the construction to take place between 2013 and 2016,subject to relevant approvals being granted for the project.
The expected life of the mine is 30 years,with sufficient resources to potentially extend the project life beyond that time.
In 2011,GVK Hancock delivered the first (and only Galilee Basin) bulk samples from its Alpha site to power stations in South Korea and China.
The results of the trial burns (totalling approximately 100,000 tons) were better than anticipated.
($1 = 1.0156 Australian dollars)
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