Adani holds back Australian coal project investment

Mining and infrastructure major Adani Enterprises today announced its decision to further defer a planned investment on its long-delayed Carmichael coal and rail road project in Western Australia, as the Queensland state government has deferred the signing of a royalty deal for the mine.

Adani was expected to make a final investment decision (FID) on the 25 million tonnes per year coal mine and rail project by the month-end, but decided to defer it till June as the Queensland state government has yet to sign off on a royalty deal for the mine.

"Adani is advised that the Queensland cabinet did not consider any submission or make a decision on royalties for the Adani project today," Ron Watson, the company'spokesman in Australia said,

"In light of that, Adani today deferred a decision by the board on FID until the government makes a decision."

While the Queensland prime minister had earlier affirmed its commitment to the Carmichael project, reports said, it is considering ways to extend royalty payments to promote jobs and investment in order to offset the economic slump caused by the commodities slump over the past few years.

Queensland Premier Anastasia Palazsczuk did not say that her cabinet planned to increase royalty rates fir coal mining, but said said that any change in the state's royalty regime would not just be for Adani but would be for all new mines and gas development projects.

With opposition from the ranks of the Labor party itself over the use of taxpayer money to  subsidise the controversial Carmichael project in the untapped Galilee Basin, the premier said she would do whatever it takes to ensure local employment.

"I think that as a government, we can look very clearly at trying to open up the Galilee (and other areas)," she told reporters.

"At the end of the day, it's all about jobs, and that's what Queenslanders want."

Adani's Australian mining project has been facing opposition from both environmentalists and rights groups ever since it was launched six years ago.

Environment groups have been opposing the coal mine project, arguing that Australia's biggest coal mine will only help to underminme global efforts to cut global carbon foot print while the coal mine, rail road and port will combine to damage the Great Barrier Reef.

They also say the port expansion is no longer needed as the company has shrunk the first phase of the mine to 25 million tonnes from 40 million tonnes a year.