Australian mining mogul Clive Palmer has announced the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) intends to secure around 70% of the funds for the $7.5 billion ‘China First’ coal mine and infrastructure project in Queensland.
MCC has signed a memorandum of understanding with Palmer’s company Resourcehouse to arrange for 70% of the project costs through debt financing.
In the country over the weekend as part of a delegation of Chinese business leaders, the company’s president Shen Heting also delivered a letter of support from a major Chinese bank to Palmer.
The ‘China First’ project includes a thermal coal mine near Alpha, central Queensland, as well as 490 kilometre heavy haul railway line and a two-berth export coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen.
Palmer said the project will open up a new coal region in the Galilee Basin and generate 6000 jobs during construction and 1500 during operation.
MCC intends to take a 10% equity interest in the project and has also committed to buy at least 30 million of the 40 million tonnes of coal the project is expected to produce every year over a 25-year lifespan.
“It is a most significant day when someone of the stature of Shen Heting comes to Australia to personally deliver a letter of support for the project from the Chinese banks,” Palmer said.
“It speaks volumes for the strength of the project and the interest from China in developing a new world-class coal region such as the Galilee Basin.”
Palmer has described the development as “the project of the century,” because it will open up a massive coal resource and benefit both the Queensland and national economy.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese last week slated the project for fast-tracked approvals by granting it ‘Major Project Facilitation’ (MPF) status.
The Queensland Government has also done the same, deeming the development a ‘Significant Project.’