Alpha Coal collects key approvals for $9.9bn Galilee mine
Alpha Coal has passed a major milestone for its integrated mine, rail and port project in the Galilee Basin, securing environmental approval from the state government for a giant 30mtpa mine and associated rail.
Alpha Coal’s project comprises a 30mtpa mine and a 495km standard gauge rail with approval to carry 60mtpa, worth $6.3bn, and a terminal at Abbot point with two berths capable of at least 60mtpa of exports, projected to cost $3.6bn.
The project is a JV between 79% owner GVK, an Indian infrastructure group, and Gina Rhinehart’s Hancock Coal, which holds a 21% stake.
Alpha is the most advanced of competing projects in the Galilee. Fellow Indian infrastructure company, Adani Enterprises, is developing a 60mtpa mine with plans for a rail link to either Abbot or Hay point. Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal is pushing its 40mtpa China First mine and a rail link to Abbot Point.
Queensland’s new government had asked the Galilee proponents to reach agreement over coordinated rail infrastructure, but none was forthcoming. The Liberal National Party is seeking to clear a backlog of resource projects that built up prior to recent state elections.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, GVK vice-chairman, Sanjay Reddy, said the company was open to alternate rail infrastructure. However, he said Alpha Coal is “one or two years” ahead of its rivals and it was “totally unviable for us to depend on somebody whose rail corridor is not as advanced as ours.”
Alpha is yet to be granted a mining lease from the state government, receive development approval for its Abbot Point terminal and also awaits environmental approvals from the federal government.
The company aims to secure all necessary approvals by the end of the year and enter production by 2016. The mine plan comprises six separate open-cut pits, with a total strike length of 24 km in a north-south direction.