Adani Group plans to kick start its Queensland coal mining and transportation project in Australia and has hired New York-based engineering and design consultancy firm Parsons Brinckerhoff as project management contractor for the $6.2-billion project.
"We are well placed to commence construction in the first quarter of 2015 in line with our guidance of first coal in 2017," said, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO for Adani mining operations.
Under the multi-million dollar contract Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide consultancy services on engineering, procurement and construction.
The latest move comes barely three months after the Gujarat-based company hired Korean giant Posco Engineering & Construction Co Ltd to build the $2-billion North Galilee Basin Rail project, a 300km railway to connect the Carmichael mine and potentially other mines in the untapped Galilee Basin to the east coast port of Abbot Point, from where they can be shipped to feed Adani's power plants in India.
The rail line is expected to transport more than 100 million tonnes of coal a year.
Environmental groups in Australia had earlier protested against Adani and Indian company GVK Hancock developing mines and expanding a nearby Abbott Point port in the Galilee Basin as it could require dumping sand within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Queensland state government had granted its approval in August, subject to strict conditions to protect flora and fauna and address surface water, air quality and noise emission issues. (See: Adani gets Queensland nod for mine-rail project)
It also directed the Indian firm to strike a deal with affected landholders and stipulates how access will be maintained to homesteads, stock feeding areas and water supply.
Despite analysts' views that the project would be unprofitable at current coal prices, the company is committed to push ahead with production and supply coal to power stations in India.
The country is home to the world's fifth-largest coal reserves – and its state-owned monopoly Coal India Ltd is the world's biggest producer of the carbon fuel. Nonetheless it needs to import coal amid its perpetual electricity shortage, with most plants running short of the fuel.