Adani Australia aims to start work on Carmichael projects within a few weeks

adaniprojects-BCCLGautam Adani-led Adani Group could start construction of its ambitious and controversial Carmichael mine and rail project in a “few weeks” as the project has received most approvals from the Australian government and only two key state approvals are needed, Lucas Dow, CEO — Mining at Adani Australia, told ET in a telephonic interview. There are nine other approvals that will be required at a later stage from state and the government. Edited excerpts:

The Australian government has approved the groundwater management plan. What is the status right now for other approvals?
With this approval, we have all the approvals needed from the government to start construction. Two critical plans, which have been approved at the federal level, need state approval. During the course of project development, other approvals would be needed but for us to start construction there are only these two plans that need state government approval.

We understand that you are aiming to start construction by May. Is that correct?
We don’t have absolute certainty from state government but it is reasonable to expect it could happen in a few weeks. We have equipment and personnel on site and we can start work even today.

It is believed that one of the things that worked in your favour was that the federal government wanted to approve the project before the election dates are announced. They have not been able to resolve unemployment issues and this project can help them in that regard. Has that worked in your favour?
This project would go on for generations and see many political cycles. So we haven’t put too much of thinking around the politics of it. We are just walking through a process to finalise all the management plans, with the focus now on state government.

Will you revisit the investment plans after you scaled it down earlier?
We hope to achieve 10 million tonne per annum operation, and build 200 kilometres of railway lines. For this, we have an investment plan for AUS$2 billion. This will create 1,500 direct jobs, and we expect another 6,750 indirect jobs.

Adani Group has said the project would be financed on its own. Has the amount been tied up and how would it be structured; will it be a loan from the group?
The funding will come from AdaniNSE -2.19 % Group; how they will financeNSE -0.21 % it will be their treasury decision. What the board has provided me is commitment and access to that funding. I will not discuss the structural arrangement, but I can tell you that the financing would be through their Australian entities and structured to be consistent to Australian norms.