Adani says there could be up to 1800 ongoing jobs once it starts exporting coal from its central Queensland mine.
The Indian miner is gearing up for construction after winning the final approval it needed on Thursday.
Adani has previously promised more than 1500 direct jobs, and a further 6750 indirect jobs, with those figures based on modelling done by the Queensland Resources Council.
On Friday, Adani Australia chief executive Lucas Dow said the company was still working through factors that would influence how many ongoing jobs the mine and an associated rail project create.
He said those issues included production volumes and geology, but the best indication was to look at job numbers at similar sized mines.
“They typically range up to around 1800 direct jobs,” he told ABC radio.
He said 100 people were already working in Adani’s Townsville office, with 60 others at work on the mine site, as the company finalises arrangements with contractors and mobilises the equipment it needs to dig the mine.
He said the company had already invested over $3.5 billion, including renewable energy projects in Australia, the acquisition of Abbot Point port facilities, and the development of the mine and port.
“We’ve got a further $2 billion now to spend to complete the mine and rail project and we’re looking forward to being able to deliver on those jobs.”
Mr Dow rejected suggestions the mine was only approved because Labor lost the federal election, saying he believed the final approvals it needed would have come soon regardless.
“We would have had them in a similar time frame in any case,” he said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk stepped in after federal Labor’s defeat last month, saying she was fed up with delays to state approvals.
She demanded decision time frames be set, and Adani got the two approvals it needed in three weeks, after 18 months of back and forth over its plans to manage groundwater at the mine site, and to protect an endangered bird that lives there.
Earlier on Friday, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the mine’s profitability was a matter for Adani.
Some resources analysts have questioned the financial viability of the mine, given current coal prices.
But Mr Macfarlane said “they are not issues that we or the taxpayers of Queensland need to be involved with”.
“If the company decides this mine is viable – and my understanding is that they have – they will take positions in the coal market, this coal is all for export, it is in demand out of Asia …”
He said he had confidence in Adani’s job figures, adding: “Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating”.
“But we are confident that there will be a significant economic flow on to Queensland.”
Adani initially promised 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, but that was before it dramatically downsized the mine from 60 million tonnes a year, to 10 million tonnes a year in its first phase of operation.
Climate change campaigners have vowed to continue their fight against the mine, which still needs other approvals before mining can commence.
Adani expects to be exporting coal within two years.