IN a major step forward for what will be the nation’s largest coal mine, the Adani Group today announced that Townsville would be the site of the regional headquarters for its Carmichael coal project and that construction would likely commence from early 2017.

Chairman Gautam Adani and his Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj were among company executives to meet with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham at the Port of Townsville this morning.

With other regional centres including Mackay, Bowen, Rockhampton, Emerald, Clermont, Moranbah, Collinsville and Charters Towers to provide support services, Dr Lynham talked up the project’s benefits to local jobs and communities.

“The effects of this project will ripple through our regional economies, whether it’s the mining engineering businesses, the construction materials suppliers, the aircraft maintenance crews or the caterers feeding the work crews,” the Minister said.

“The resources sector provides $2 billion annually in royalties to fund our hospitals and schools: the Carmichael ripple effect will be felt statewide.”

Adani’s Carmichael project includes a $16.5 billion, 60-million tonnes per annum (mtpa) thermal coal mine, as well as a 388-kilometre rail line to Abbot Point and a new 35-mtpa coal terminal at the port. The total investment is estimated at around $22bn.

In terms of the progress of the project, Adani today confirmed its:

  • regional headquarters will be based in Townsville;
  • remote operations centre will be in Townsville;
  • rail and port operations headquarters will be in Bowen;
  • mining services based in Mackay;
  • rail maintenance and provisioning yard in the Mackay-Bowen region;
  • project sourcing centres in Townsville, Charters Towers, Rockhampton, Emerald, Clermont and Moranbah; and
  • the shortlist for a Fly in Fly Out hub is Townsville and Rockhampton, with a decision due in 2017 coinciding with the start of early works.

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan also welcomed today’s announcements.

“This is great news for regional Queensland and it will boost the Queensland and Australian economies,” Senator Canavan said.

“Up to 600 jobs will be provided by the pre-construction stage that begins with this announcement by Adani and the project is expected to provide 10,000 direct and indirect jobs as it rolls out.

“This is one of the reasons the Coalition Government remains such a strong supporter of development in the resources sector, including through projects such as Adani’s Carmichael mine.”

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott warmly welcomed the announcement on behalf of Australia’s resource and allied sector employers.

“After spending years obtaining the appropriate approvals, mining leases, demonstrating its commitment to environmental management and fighting continuous and often mischievous legal challenges, today’s strong progress on Adani’s Carmichael coal project is warmly welcomed by Australia’s resource industry,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

Mr Knott also made the point that despite obtaining almost all approvals needed to begin construction, and complying with more 200 environmental conditions, efforts are still underway by minority activist and community groups to derail the project through continuous court challenges, appeals and protests.

He said Australia can learn from the excessive and unnecessary costs and delays in getting the Carmichael project to its pre-construction phase, in seeking to improve our processes for assessing and approving future job-creating developments.

“While nobody should be denied their right to legally and responsibly object to a development on legitimate grounds, the continuous legal activism known as ‘lawfare’ seen in the Adani case is counter-productive to our nation securing future projects and the community benefits they bring,” Mr Knott said.

Click here to read AMMA’s full media statement.