Adani expects final nod for Australian mine project by June

Adani Group hopes to finalise investment plans in its ambitious $16.5-billion Australian mining project after it gets final regulatory clearances by June this year. Construction of the long-delayed Charmichael coalmine project in Queensland, northern Australia, is due to start some time in August, reports quoting sources at Adani Enterprises said.

The announcement follows assurances by Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk on Friday, while visiting Adani's Mundra Port in Gujarat, who said, "most of the approvals have come through" (See: Queensland Premier Palaszczuk reaffirms commitment to Adani mine).

The project has received all tier I approvals and is now awaiting the final parliamentary approval from the Australian federal government, reports quoted a top Adani official as saying.

Adani's coal mine and rail-cum-port project in Queensland, which has been facing opposition from environment groups, land holders and local politicians for more than five years, is now facing heat from groups in Australia, including cricket legends Ian and Greg Chappel ( Ian, Greg Chappell among signatories against Adani coal mine).

Billionaire Gautam Adani seemed undeterred by the opposition, saying the new moves are backed by interested parties.

Green groups have been battling the Adani project saying the project's plan to export coalwill require a mega expansion of Port Talbot into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

While Adani, a business group with interests in power and ports, has said the project would not threaten the reef and has secured most major state and federal government approvals, it still faces several court challenges.

These challenges are also affecting the group's fund-raising plans as global investors hold off funds to a project given the uncertainties of a controversial project.

However, the group's chairman, Gautam Adani, expressed optimism the project would proceed and said the board would take a final decision on investments in May or June, including structure and planned funding.

During an interaction with a group of reporters in Mumbai Gautam Adani, who was accompanied by Queensland premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, who was in the country to visit Adani's port and solar facilities, Adani expressed confidence in the success of the Queensland project

He said, as per the internal planning, the first coal from the mine should come out by 2010, adding, construction could begin within three months of the board's decision.

Palaszczuk said the Carmichael project had the full support of her government and that she did not see any obstacles in Adani securing final approval from Australia.