GVK secures green nod for $10-b Australian projects

| | Updated on: Aug 23, 2012
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This will help close finances by December or March, says Chairman

GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd has secured environmental clearance for the $10-billion Alpha coal mine project and rail line from the Australian Federal Government.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of GVK group, G.V.K.Reddy, said, "We are delighted with the Federal Government decision. Ultimately, we believe the overall assessment process has resulted in best practice for environmental protection outcome."

The approval is a major boost for the GVK group and will enable them to go ahead and close finances for the ambitious project located in the Galilee basin. Several investors have also evinced interest in picking up stake in the project.

After the Queensland Government’s clearance for the coal mine and rail project, there was some delay in securing the nod from the Federal Government.

Greenpeace members had also raised concerns about the project impacting the Great Barrier Reef. However, this is a major boost for the Hyderabad-based diversified infrastructure company. They will not only get into a much bigger league but also be able to take up thermal power projects in India based on Australian coal.

The nod comes after a rigourous and thorough assessment process by two levels of Governments spanning four years. The Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke gave his approval for the decision to construct and operate the Alpha Coal Mine project and railway line between the mine and the port at Abbot Point near Bowen.

Australian mining tycoon, Gina Rinehart, during here recent visit to Hyderabad, had also expressed confidence that the project will secure the green nod. She also stated that they were willing to pick up stake in the coal project.

GVK scrip closed at Rs 12.39.


'Approval granted with 19 strict conditions'

PTI reports: The Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said in a separate statement that the approval has been granted with 19 strict conditions directed specifically at ensuring matters of national environmental significance are protected, including the Great Barrier Reef.

“My approval follows a rigorous assessment process after I was forced to step in and complete the assessment. This has ensured the highest standards of environmental regulation were applied to this project,” Burke said.

“While the decision has taken an additional three months since the Queensland Coordinator General’s report was released, I’m satisfied that we have now put in place the required additional conditions for the protection of the environment including the Great Barrier Reef,” he added.

Earlier, Federal Government had raised objections to the environmental clearance given by Queensland to the project.

Last year, GVK had acquired 79 per cent stake in the Alpha Coal and Alpha West projects and a 100 per cent stake in the Kevin’s Corner project in Queensland from Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd.

GVK Vice-Chairman G. V. Sanjay Reddy said this is an important milestone for the projects which will provide significant benefits to the Alpha and Bowen regions.

The projects are expected to provide 2,000 on-going jobs in operations directly, employ around 4,000 during construction and return to the Government $1.5 billion annually in royalties and taxes at peak production, he said.

These projects hold total resources of 8 billion tonnes and a peak capacity of 80 million tonnes per annum.

When combined, these projects will create one of the largest coal mining operations in the world, the company said in the statement.

The Alpha Coal project has a mine life of over 30 years and a capacity of 32 mtpa which makes it suitable for high production open cut mining.

GVK has also acquired a 100 per cent stake in the 500-km rail line and a 60 million tonne per annum (mtpa) port as part of the “pit-to-port” logistics solution.

“This positive decision also paves the way to ensure more than 1.4 billion people (largely in Asia) that face a major shortage of electricity, are provided with an additional source of coal to enhance supply of electricity to the region, thus improving the quality of life of the people and overall economic development,” Reddy said.

The Queensland Government has also selected GVK’s Rail Corridor as the north-south corridor for connecting the Galilee Basin to the Port of Abbot Point in Australia.

GVK’s coal mining project with its superior quality low-ash, low-sulphur and low-gas thermal coal, will be reliably exported mainly to Asian destinations.

Construction is expected to start next year with first coal being produced in 2015-16, the release added.

Published on March 13, 2018

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