Adani’s Carmichael mine defended by Trade Minister Andrew Robb

Trade Minister Andrew Robb has defended Adani’s plans to develop the massive Carmichael mine, saying despite the naysayers, the project will go ahead.

Amid mounting court battles and fears the $16 billion project won’t attract the funding it needs to get off the ground, Robb said he was confident the mine will be built.

In India last week for talks with business leaders, Robb met with the man behind the mine, entrepreneur Gautam Adani and toured his power station and port facilities.

Robb rubbished claims that the project is financially unviable, SMH reported.

"The analysts are all entitled to their view, a lot of them had the same view about [Adani's] port which is bigger than anything in Australia, about his power station, which is the biggest in India," Robb said.

"He's just about to embark on a solar operation which is a 100 megawatts, which is just monstrous, with some of the best companies in the world. All of his other activities – they [financial analysts] were wrong with all of those."

The Carmichael project, located in Queensland’s untapped Galilee Basin, holds more than 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal and will produce 60 million tonnes a year for 60 years.

The mine is expected to create 10,000 jobs and hand $22 billion to the state government in taxes and royalties.

But not everyone wants to see the mine up and running.

Environmentalists have attempted to hamstring the project by tying it up in litigation, with several separate court cases levelled against the mine.

In the latest case, the Mackay Conservation Group will argue that Federal Environment minister Greg Hunt failed to take into account the climate impact of greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of coal from the Carmichael mine when assessing whether to grant its licence.

It says the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier reef as a consideration which the minister should have been taken into account.

Meanwhile, falling coal prices have prompted some analysts to suggest the mine will struggle to gain funding.

But Robb said he has seen the business plan and believes in the mine’s credentials.

"The business plan [has been] put in front of us," Robb said.

"In the end the commercial judgements are Adani's. [But] he strikes [me] as one of the most passionate entrepreneurs I've come across, and that's a big statement because they're a few passionate entrepreneurs around.

"He's talking to me about this, the fact that this coal deposit will light up 100 million homes for 100 years."

Robb said it was projects like Carmichael that would help pull millions of people out of pverty.

"You look around the world on the development front and there has never been an underdeveloped community that has got out of that trap, out of the circumstance of poverty, extreme poverty, without electricity…"

Last year the Queensland government announced plans to fund Adani’s rail, airport, water, port and electricity infrastructure for the Carmichael project.

The government plans to take a short-term minority stake in the assets.

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the deal would help ease any concerns investors were having about bankrolling the coal mine.

“It gives confidence to investors who are considering their long-term plans in the basin that the state is committed to the best possible infrastructure being in place to support the further development of the Galilee, and the jobs and exports that will provide,” Janakaraj said.

Late last year Adani signed a deal which will see the State Bank of India extend a $1 billion credit facility to help build the mine.

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