Hancock Coal, GVK confirm deal for Australian coalfields

Australia-based Hancock Coal, controlled by the promoters of India's GVK Group, said in a statement today that it has completed negotiations for acquiring 75 per cent of the land required for its proposed rail line between its coal mines in Galilee Basin and Abbot Point Coal in Queensland province.

According to a project update report, GVK said the process for acquiring the remaining 25 per cent of the land will be initiated shortly.

"To date, our GVK Hancock project team has successfully negotiated terms sheets with landholders for around 75 per cent of the rail corridor which outline commercially agreed terms for the acquisition and compensation of the land.

"At this stage, GVK Hancock plans to recommence negotiations with the remaining landholders along the rail line route once it has finalised the proposed joint venture with Aurizon, Australia's largest rail freight operator," the GVK report said.

The GVK group had earlier signed a pact with Aurizon, Australia's largest rail freight company, to sell 51 per cent stake in its Rail and Port projects holding company, Hancock Coal Infrastructure Pty Ltd (HCI), which owns GVK Hancock's rail and port projects.

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

The fields concerned hold estimated reserves of 8 billion tonnes, with a capacity of more than 80 million tonnes per annum. GVK also has a 100-per cent stake in the 500-km rail line and a 60 million tonnes per annum port as part of the 'pit-to-port' logistics solution which envisages an investment of $10 billion.

The JV with Aurizon will develop the rail and port solution connecting the southern-end of the Galilee Basin to export markets with the joint venture agreement currently in the process of being finalised, it added.

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process for the rail line, an independent hydro-geological consultant was appointed to examine the extensive modelling and information was provided to affected landholders, the report further said.

The rail corridor project is designed to a 1 in 100 year flood immunity level and all drainage structures and rail formations are designed accordingly.