Adani halts work at Australia's Carmichael mining project

Adani Mining has halted work at its Carmichael project in Queensland, Australia, ahead of a planned review of the A$10-billion ($7.72 billion) coal mining and port project amidst local opposition and delays in project work.

Adani Mining has asked its four engineering contractors working on the Carmichael project to halt work, The Guardian Australia reported earlier, citing sources close to the development.

The report said it is understood that about 40 engineers working for one of Adani's contractors, WorleyParsons, were among those pulled off the project. Other contractors include Aecon, Aurecon and SMEC.

Speculation is rife that faced with relentless protest and legal threats, the company might scrap the project altogether.

"The project budget was based, understandably, on these anticipated approval timelines and milestones," Adani said in a statement.

"As a result of changes to a range of approvals over that time, it's necessary to synchronise our budget, project timelines and spending to meet those changes," it said.

The Carmaichael project was to go on stream in two years and Adani had signed up buyers for about 70 per cent of the 40 million tonnes coal the mines is due to produce in its first phase, with production expected to begin in late 2017.

Halting project work at this stage raises speculation that the company might scrap the project altogether, report said.

Adani's Australian project has been hamstrung by a surprise election result in coal-rich Queensland state, leading to a policy reversal, and heightened pressure to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani also had to face local protest, allegedly by NGOs claiming to represent interests of the aboriginals.

To appease the group, Adani Australia launched a comprehensive Indigenous Participation Plan (IPP) encompassing its port, rail and mine projects in Queensland.

According to Adani, implementation of the IPP will result in a direct benefit of at least $250 million in business development, jobs, and training opportunities to traditional owner groups spanning Adani's operations over the half-life of the company's projects (30 years).