GVK coal project gets Queensland court's conditional clearance

The Land Court in Australian state Queensland has granted conditional clearance to the $10 billion Alpha Coal Mine project being developed by the GVK Group, setting the stage for the project's take-off.

The Land Court has recommended that the state government approve the mining lease once the conditions to deal with objections made under the Mineral Resources Act and the Environmental Protection Act are met.

GVK Hancock said it would work with regulators and landholders to meet strict court-set conditions to gain a lease for its $10 billion Alpha coal mine, rail and port project.

GVK is now waiting for the Queensland government to issue it with the mining lease for Alpha Coal project.

GVK Hancock, a joint venture between India's GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd and Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, had already secured state and federal government approval for the project in Queensland state's untapped Galilee Basin.

"GVK Hancock welcomes the recommendations from the Land Court that the Environmental Authority (clearance) and Mining Lease for our Alpha coal project be granted subject to conditions.

"We fully understand the significant benefits our projects will bring to the region and will continue to work with the environmental regulators in relation to these recommendations," GVK said in a statement.

GVK had, in 2011, acquired 79-per cent stake in the Alpha Coal and Alpha West projects and 100 per cent stake in the Kevin's Corner project in Queensland from Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd.

The first coal from the Alpha Coal Mine is expected to be extracted by 2016. When fully commissioned, the mine will produce 32 million tonnes of thermal coal per year.

The Alpha Coal project comprises operation of coal mine and a railway line between the mine and the port at Abbot Point, near Bowen on the eastern coast of Queensland.

The coal project will provide direct employment to around 7,500 people across the region during construction, and almost 4,000 once operational, contributing over $40 billion in taxes and royalties over the life of the mines.

The Hancock Coal project is expected to bring on line a new world class high quality, low ash, low sulphur, low gas thermal coal basin with an ability to lower global emissions from coal-fired power generation, the statement added.