Indian logistics and energy giant Adani has announced that Townsville will be the regional headquarters for its Carmichael mine, rail and port operations.
Momentum has built since the Federal Government signed off on the final approval for the project development.
Various regional centres, including Mackay and the Whitsundays, were vying for the opportunity to host the headquarters of what is touted to be the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere when built.
Adani was aiming at producing 60Mtpa but that’s reportedly been watered down in the face of pressure from the environmental movement.
Townsville Enterprise (TEL) is touting the project will be responsible for generating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs across construction, engineering, accounting, legal, management and administration.
“We know India is an economic powerhouse and this is an opportunity to build our relationships. Hopefully through this goodwill, partnership and friendship we can open up an international alliance for economic development,” TEL chief executive officer Trish O’Callaghan said.
Green light for pre-construction
Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj said today’s announcement marked the start of the pre-construction stage of the project.
“There will be approximately 500-600 jobs during this stage,” Mr Janakaraj said.
“Our mining contractors, and the rail and port construction contractors, will be the major employers during the construction and operational stages.
“This is a significant commitment by Adani to regional Queensland where the Carmichael mine and associated projects will generate 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly and I am pleased that each of the regional centres will benefit from the Carmichael projects.
“The Carmichael mine is primarily aimed at bringing electricity to 100 million people in India, to improve their quality of life and indeed provide them with better health, education and employment opportunities.
“Adani is similarly proud to be bringing this coal project to fruition and thereby generate tens of thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders.”
Commitment on local jobs
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she had secured commitments from Adani that the workforce for its Carmichael coal project would be sourced from regional Queensland and it would not use foreign workers on 457 visas.
Speaking from Townsville where she met with Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani, the Premier said the State Government had been determined for the project to create as many jobs for regional Queensland as possible.
“Adani had originally proposed to locate its project offices in Brisbane,” she said. “I welcome the Adani commitment to locate them in our regions.”
The plans Adani has revealed for the Carmichael project will see:
- regional headquarters and a remote operations centre based in Townsville;
- rail and port operations headquartered in Bowen;
- mining services based in Mackay;
- rail maintenance and provisioning yard in the Mackay-Bowen region;
- project sourcing centres in Townsville, Charters Towers, Rockhampton, Emerald, Clermont and Moranbah.
Townsville and Rockhampton are being considered as FIFO hubs, with a decision due in 2017 coinciding with the start of early works.
“My government was worked with Adani to ensure the project went through a rigorous and comprehensive assessment process for the mine, rail and port development,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We promised the people of Queensland, at the last election, that we would protect the Great Barrier Reef and Caley Valley Wetlands from disposal of dredged spoil from the Abbot Point port expansion.
“We also promised the Queensland Government, on behalf of taxpayers, would not fund project infrastructure.
“We have delivered our commitments and now we look forward to the thousands of new jobs – direct and indirect – to be delivered from the Carmichael Coal project.”
More court battles to come
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane applauded the state and federal governments for their support of the project, but warned it was still a long way from the finish line.
“The Adani project still faces multiple court cases from the green activists, most of who reside in inner-city suburbs, hundreds or thousands of kilometres from the project,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“This is why the QRC has called on both levels of governments to overhaul the loopholes in the current legislation that enables green activists to repeatedly hold up projects in court.
“As we know from our current economic data, it’s not just the cities from Townsville to Rockhampton that will benefit, but the flow-on effects will be felt across the entire state.”
He said that during 2015-16 the resources sector was responsible for one in seven jobs across Queensland, while over the past seven years it had generated $476 billion in value to Queensland.