Adani energy boss says his company want to mine in Queensland – but can’t wait forever for approvals
If you’ve been following the progress of Indian conglomerate Adani over the last few years, you’ll be familiar with their proposed Galilee Basin Carmichael thermal coal mine. Situated hundreds of kilometres inland from the port of Abbot Point, which is about 25 kilometres north-west of Bowen on Queensland’s north coast – the Galilee Basin is rich in thermal coal deposits that lie close to the surface.
Mining companies set on developing the Galilee Basin
Adani and other mining companies and joint venture partners such as another Indian-based conglomerate GVK Hancock have their eyes firmly set on developing the Galilee Basin. Despite other mining companies wanting to develop their coal assets in the basin, Adani have been spearheading the push to open up the coal-rich pastoral land and in the process have come up against a barrage of opposition.
As tenacious as they are, the Adani group have shown signs of weakening their resolve to develop its Carmichael mine. Knock-back after knock-back has forced the company to halt its preliminary activities, cancelling contracts and sending out notifications to cease all work immediately.
For those workers and mining communities that are close to the proposed mine, the thought of years of guaranteed employment at the mine has fired up the enthusiasm and driven a new wave of hope in the region. As we all know, the global coal trade has slumped of late – so the Adani Carmichael mine is viewed as a milestone in the rejuvenation of the coal sector in Queensland. Particularly so when there is more than one coal asset to be developed because the run-off effect of the development of these new mines will benefit hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders and their local communities.
We’re here for the long haul – Adani chief
Adani has been fighting a running battle with the media over its proposed Carmichael mine, with some media sources hell-bent on destroying the credibility of the organisation. However, this weekend saw one of Australia’s largest weekend newspapers featured the Adani energy boss Jeyakumar Janakaraj on the prime home page position. The headline read “We’re here for the long haul”
The article began with a positive note, quoting Adani on the outlook and profitability of their proposed $16 billion Carmichael mine. Jeyakumar Janakaraj has taken a stance in one of his few interviews in Brisbane, to once again renew the Adani vision of assisting the people of India to be given the gift of electricity. A gift that will raise millions of impoverished Indians out of an age where electricity has been denied so many for so long. It’s thought about 70 per cent of the coal mined from the Carmichael mine will be exported directly to India.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas has himself declared he and his party will change the face of India and deliver on the promise to deliver prosperity to its people. That’s a heavy promise for a country that has a huge population living in makeshift houses with little access to the things in life we in the western world take for granted.
All in all, the pressure is on for Narendra Damodardas and the man behind the wheel of Adani Gautam Adani to work together to deliver what it is the Indian people need to make their country great once again. With this renewed pressure back on the table, it seems Adani has taken the opportunity to remind the people of Queensland that they are still keen on developing the Carmichael mine – but it can’t wait forever.
With the long delays in approvals from the Australian government, setbacks and angry protests Adani has also started it can’t wait forever for approvals. Despite the high-quality coal seams being readily available, the coal will stay firmly in the ground if there are no signs of an upswing in approvals.
Internal pressure from India suggests Adani are working to tight time frames with 2016 being a critical year moving forward in Australia. This is because by 2018, Indian power stations will be ready to accept coal from the Galilee Basin mine and if this deadline is not met – then Australia will miss out forever.
Huge contracts awarded to develop the Carmichael mine
This year alone, we have seen contracts awarded to POSCO and Downer EDI to name but a couple of the major contractors who have been given an MOU to engage with the mining company. POSCO’s role is to develop the 300 kilometre plus rail link from the mine to the port, whereas Downer have been awarded the contract to build and operate the Carmichael mine – whenever that may occur. Not forgetting of course, the announcement in recent months that Komatsu had also been awarded the contract to supply 55 electric haul trucks to be used at the mine.
All up, Adani has reportedly spent $3 billion on planning and developing the infrastructure for the mine – that’s a lot of money to leave on the table and simply walk away.
Recently, the state of Queensland had a change in government from Liberal to Labor. This was another turning point in the development of the Carmichael mine, because the Liberal Queensland government had promised Adani that it would assist the company to build the rail link to the mine. The figures quoted at the time were around some $300 million of taxpayers money.
With a change of government in Queensland, that figure was quickly dismissed, with the firm announcement from the Palaszczuk government that in no uncertain terms would the taxpayers of Queensland be forking out for a rail link to the Galilee Basin.
Fast-forward a few months and there are rumblings from the Australian federal government about possible finance packages to stimulate the development of the Galilee Basin. Opening up the basin in western Queensland by way of a rail network creates a new wave of opportunity for other mining companies to invest in building new mines, therefore creating new long-term mining jobs in the state.
With such an audit-trail of investment and development by Adani, they are not going to lie down quietly and forget about the billions they have invested in their coal asset infrastructure. Janakaraj has once again stated “This is a viable project for our company [Adani], we are not here for charity, we are not here to lose money” – again emphasising the determination of the company to get it done.
When challenged about the viability and profitability of its proposed Carmichael mine development, Mr. Janakaraj quickly responded to reporters by saying Adani’s approach was not short-lived. He went on to say Adani has a long-term view of its mining assets in Queensland.
“It’s not a two year or a five year scenario”, said Janakaraj.
“It is about a 30, 40 or even a 50 year scenario that Adani has thought about and planned”.
Adani mining jobs – Galilee Basin
With such a lot of talk about the new wave of mining in Queensland, there has been renewed activity in many people looking to up-skill and cross-train in various areas of mining production. Most of this is attributed to the past few years as Adani edged forever closer to developing its Carmichael mine. Just like a roller coaster ride, the entire Carmichael project has seen its ups-and-downs, as well as turn tight corners and seen periods of acceleration and uphill grinds.
The Adani Carmichael mine decision is a huge on for Queenslanders as well as Australians. Waves of job losses in recent years has flattened the optimism of our workers who relied on coal jobs – especially in open-cut mining operations. The significance of Adani’s project in terms of jobs for machinery and process operations is immense. Should the mine finally go ahead, we will see a flurry of activity and once again a mini-jobs boom in the state.
It’s not just the Adani Carmichael mine that sits in the Galilee Basin, there’s GVK Hancock and its Alpha mine and Kevin’s Corner, as well as Clive Palmer’s China First coal mining project. There are other junior miners who also have a stake in coal tenements that sit inside the basin, so we can see there are many opportunities for people to get a slice of the action.
Government assisted courses
There are also government assisted courses that are being run throughout the state to allow non-qualified people to up-skill into a Certificate II or a Certificate III in surface extraction operations. These particular training courses are perfect for those who are looking to get the qualifications to work in a mining operation such as the Adani Galilee Basin Carmichael mine. Not everyone is eligible to take advantage of these courses, check your local training provider for more details.
These courses teach the machinery skills needed on a mine site and typically involve becoming proficient on backhoe, front-end loader and excavator. Additional courses are also available for those who wish to become heavy machine operators such as dump truck drivers – which is considered to one of the best jobs on a mine site.
Job seekers should also be aware that Queensland has tight safety regulations wrapped around its mining operations. Varying levels of safety have been layered across the entire mining and resource sector which has resulted in an almost zero fatality rate compared with that of other mining states in Australia.
Mining safety training in Queensland
Safety training in the Queensland mining sector is so strict, that legislation has been passed to make it impossible for anyone to walk onto a mine site without holding a current, recognised safety training qualification.
This qualification is called the Standard 11, or Mining Induction training qualification and is valid for 5 years from the time the course has been completed. There are refresher courses that can be taken if the mine worker has allowed their Standard 11 to lapse.
Mining jobs in Queensland still face a future of uncertainty – but as of today, global power and energy companies such as Adani and GVK have not walked away from developing huge coal assets in Australia. The process from application to approval to coal shipments in lengthy, although the signs are there of another super-cycle in Queensland coal mining.
Keep watching the iMINCO website for latest updates on Adani and the Carmichael mine development in the Galilee Basin – or better still; get the iMINCO Project News delivered to your email inbox every couple of weeks. The free resource is packed full of jobs, news and hints and tips of where to find the best mining training to help you win more job interviews and get that dream mining job.
Standard 11 Mining Induction