The Adani group’s coal mining project in Australia figured in talks between visiting Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Territories as part of the Australia-India Energy Dialogue here today.
The two ministers discussed a range of issues covering cooperation in the field of coal mining technology, carbon capture and storage, sourcing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia and prospects for the Indo-Australia free trade agreement, apart from the Adani investment.
The $16.5 billion project to mine coal in the Carmichael mines in Queensland, recently received environmental approval from the State Government and is now awaiting grant of mining licence, which is the last of approvals needed for work on the project to begin.
Addressing a group of visiting Indian correspondents along with Goyal, Frydenberg said that the “Adani investment ” was one of the issues that was discussed. This is a project that will see billions of dollars of investment and create thousands of jobs. So, it is very important to our relationship and we’re looking forward to it going ahead,” Frydenberg said, pointing out that both, the state and federal governments and the federal opposition all support the Carmichael project.
Later, when asked what was the specific discussion about the project, Goyal would only say: “We discussed so many projects that are stressed in India and in Australia. Both sides had issues where each others’ commercial interests were stressed. So we agreed that we should look at all these projects in a manner that these issues are resolved.” Australia, for instance, had problems with mining licence for a project in Karnataka and a joint venture iron ore project in Odisha, among several other such issues.
The ministers agreed to set up five working groups that would focus on taking the dialogue forward. These would be in the areas of coal mining and clean coal technologies, LNG, including regasification technology, renewable energy, coal bed methane and underground coal gasification, and smart grids and grid integration technology.
“I can see energy becoming the most important and defining part of our engagement with Australia in the days to come,” the Minister said.