GVK Coal Project In Australia Gets Green Flag By Top Court

04/09/2015 1:47 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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G.V. Sanjay Reddy, vice chairman of GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd., poses for a photograph in Brisbane, Australia, on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. GVK Group, building a $10 billion coal, rail and port project in Australia's Galilee Basin, said its plan for a rail line is the most advanced among companies competing for government approval with construction due to start before the end of the year. Photographer: Patrick Hamilton/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Adani Group may have been facing a series of setbacks on its proposed $16 billion coal min in Carmichael Australia but there's good news for India's GVK after a big hurdle to its proposed $10 billion mine in Queensland was removed Friday.

Australia's Supreme Court dismissed a petition by environmentalist groups' to stop billionaire Gina Rinehart and GVK from building a giant coal mine in Australia.

GVK Hancock, a joint venture of GVK Group and Australia’s leading resource company Hancock Prospecting, have plans to build a mine in Australia after GVK acquired Australian coal mines in Queensland. The mines have reserves of 8 billion tonnes for $1.26 billion and envisages an investment of $10 billion for setting up mines, a 500km rail project and a 60 million tonnes per annum port project and will be one of the world’s largest integrated coal mining operations.

Conservation group Coast and Country, originally working for three farmers, had sought to have the state environmental approval for GVK-Hancock's 30 million tonnes a year Alpha mine overturned, based on the impact it would have on water supply and climate change.

The state Land Court last year ruled that the mine should be approved with strict water management conditions or rejected. Green groups however further appealed this decision which was overturned by the Supreme Court Friday.

The ruling eliminated one hurdle for the $10 billion Alpha mine, rail and port project, which has effectively been put on ice until it obtains a mining permit and overcomes a lack of funding due to a slump in coal prices.

"We are pleased the court has clearly ruled that our project has continued to follow and comply with all regulatory and legal processes," GVK spokesman Josh Euler said.

The state government, which wants new mines to be developed in the untapped Galilee Basin to promote jobs, has yet to issue a mining permit for the Alpha project, but has said it would be subject to existing water management rules.

On the other hand, Australia's Federal court had earlier overturned government environmental approval for the $16-billion Carmichael coal mine under construction in Australia. Basis this, several top banks have also decline to fund Adani's project putting in doubt the financial viability of the enterprise.

Adani wants to ship millions tonnes of coal a year to India and has battled environmental opposition since starting work on the mine five years ago.

"It's not project dead because of a stuff up by the environment department," Adani spokesman Andrew Porter had told Reuters.

Proponents of both Adani's and GVK's project argue that the coal mines are also necessary for India being able to access quality coal for powering several stalled projects, due to which nearly 4 in 10 Indians lack access to electricity.

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