Source: Daily Climate
Adani has agreed to a new royalties deal with the Queensland government, weeks after an earlier proposal was junked amid internal uproar that it gave the Carmichael coal project too much taxpayer support.
On Friday, ministers attended a snap cabinet meeting and agreed a royalties “holiday” for Adani’s $16bn project, Australia’s biggest proposed coal mine, would be wound back.
On Tuesday evening, Adani announced it had agreed to a deal, which “met its expectations and requirements”. “The royalties arrangement means the project is back on track to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland,” the company said in a statement.
Adani on Tuesday said the mine in its first phase would involve production of 25m tonnes of thermal coal a year, and a 388km rail line to haul it to the company-owned Abbot Point port. The mine would then ramp up to 60m tonnes a year, making it one of the biggest in the world. Environmental campaigners and scientists are concerned about the impact of carbon emissions from its coal, which will be equivalent to some of the world’s biggest carbon-polluting countries.
The port, near Bowen in north Queensland, and near the Great Barrier Reef marine park, would be expanded from a capacity of 50m tonnes a year to 120m tonnes a year in the mine’s later phase, Adani said.
It said the board of its Indian parent company would make a “final investment decision” at its next meeting, understood to be within weeks.
That would be the trigger for what the company has flagged would be $100m to $400m of preliminary works. But the deadline for financial close, the securing of bank backing to build the mine and rail to haul coal to the coast, is early 2018.
It’s understood Adani would need to pay at least $5m a year for the first five years of production under the new deal, with interest charged on anything owed to the state above that.
The previous proposal involved payments of $2m a year, and reportedly could see the state belatedly seeking to claw back up to $320m forgone in the early years.
Adani’s billionaire chairman, Gautam Adani, personally thanked the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, “and the elected members of the state for their continued support to make this happen”.
“I also wish to thank the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and opposition leader, Bill Shorten, for their support for the changes to the native title bill,” Adani said.
The company said Shorten has assured it of Labor support for the native title changes to stop a legal precedent that would have killed off its crucial land access deal with mine site traditional owners.
That deal remains the subject of legal challenges by an anti-Adani faction of the Wangan and Jagalingou owners, which are set to run until at least October.
The Palaszczuk government announced on Saturday it would not act as “middle man” for a $900m Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan to Adani, its cabinet ruling this was in line with an election promise not to give taxpayer support to the miner.
On Monday, Barnaby Joyce condemned the refusal, telling the ABC there was a “big, big issue there” with state Labor.