MUMBAI: Adani Group expects to get final regulatory approvals for its much-debated AUD22 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore) Carmichael coal project by May-June and start construction of first phase by August, a top executive said Sunday.
The project has received all tier I approvals and is now awaiting the final parliamentary approval from the Australian federal government, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, chief of the conglomerate’s Australian business told ETin an interview.
Earlier, on Friday, Annastacia Palaszczuk, premier of Queensland, where the project will be located, too said “most of the approvals have come through”.
Adani Group which conceived Australia’s largest coal project in 2010, has been battling environment groups over the proposal for more than five years. The green groups have alleged the project will entail a port expansion that will go into the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. The groups had also alleged some vulnerable animal species would be impacted.
Janakaraj called the protests, a “fight on ideological issues that were not real”. He also said the Queensland government authorities recent visit and Palaszczuk’s statements were enough proof of the Australian government’s interest that the project go through. He added the company has already “gone through a rigorous process of approvals,”.
Adani has however cut the total annual coal output in the first phase to 25 million tons from the initially planned 40 million tons, he said.
This, according to a source in the know, has cut total cost of the first phase by 1 billion AUD (Rs 5,000 crore). Adani has already put in about 3.3 billion AUD (Rs 16,500 crore) in the project. The majority of the remaining project cost will be on the 2.8 billion AUD (Rs 14,000 crore) rail link to Abbot Point, said Janakaraj.
Adani aims to raise about 800-900 million AUD (Rs 4,000-4,500 crore) debt to part fund the rail link, he said adding it may be raised from the state-run Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
He said the project will go for financial closure only once the company gets into contracts for 75% of the coal output.