Mining giant Adani will fund the entire cost of its controversial Queensland coal mine project by itself and says major works are imminent.
The project has struggled to attract financial backers, but now Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow says they will move forward alone with their Carmichael mine in the state’s Galilee Basin.
The announcement in Mackay comes after Adani last month said it was scaling back the size and scope of the project, from a 60 million tonnes a year $16.5 billion mega-mine, to a more manageable 10 to 15 million tonnes a year costing around $2 billion.
Mr Dow said that scale-back decision meant the project could finally move forward after eight years of development.
“We have already invested $3.3 billion in Adani’s Australian businesses, which is a clear demonstration of our capacity to deliver a financing solution for the revised scope of the mine and rail project,” he said in a statement.
The project has been fiercely opposed by environmental groups who argue the thermal coal that will be extracted from the mine will contribute to global warming.
They also argue it will have a devastating impact on the local water table.
Adani still has to be given final environmental and planning approvals by the state government, and the decision could prove difficult for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has always said the mine needs to stack up financially.
“Today’s announcement removes any doubt as to the project stacking up financially,” Mr Dow said
Adani’s announcement came as much of the state was on bushfire alert, due to temperatures well above average which had lasted some days.
Kelly O’Shanassy from the Australian Coservation Foundation said the state and federal governments now need to make an important decision about the mine.
“Burning the coal from the Adani mine and the broader Galilee Basin will be terribly damaging for our climate.” she said.
This financing announcement means ignorance, denial or avoidance are no longer viable. The only responsible response is to stop Adani and keep Galilee Basin coal in the ground.”
However, the Queensland Resources Council said it would deliver money and jobs to the state.
“This is great news for Queensland and great news for regional Queensland in particular, because every new resources project benefits all of us,” QRC head Ian Macfarlane said.
Adani could also open the entire Galilee Basin to exploration, with mine projects from GVK/Hancock and the China Stone already given preliminary approval.
The company last month said it would not seeking any state or federal money for the start of the mine project construction.
“There has been a lot of misinformation and speculation that we need taxpayer money to be able to build the mine and rail,” Mr Dow said in a statement.
“This is absolutely not the case; this project will stand on its own two feet.”