Galilee Basin future questioned

THE viability of the Galilee Basin as a new coal mining province has been questioned by one of Queensland’s leading coal academics, who is at odds with statements by deputy premier Jeff Seeney over the future of GVK Hancock’s projects in the region.
Galilee Basin future questioned Galilee Basin future questioned Galilee Basin future questioned Galilee Basin future questioned Galilee Basin future questioned

Queensland Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Jeff Seeney.

Lou Caruana

Giffith University associate professor Bradley Bowden told ILN the projects were “fanciful when the prices were well above the current

spot thermal price of around $US80.”

“The cost of infrastructure in terms of roads, power, rail, water, and housing would be in the many, many billions - which no sane finance body would lend for at current prices,” he said.

“All this for thermal coal deposits well removed from the coast, when thermal deposits in the Hunter and even the Gunnedah basin are far, far closer to port and have long established rail and other infrastructure available.”

Indian media has reported that the proposed GVK-Hancock Alpha coal project in the Galilee Basin has been delayed by a year because of problems obtaining financial backing.

GVK still maintains that Alpha will be operational by 2016.

“We are ramping up our concurrent activities in order to meet the market demands for our coal in the latter half of 2016,” it said in a statement.

Seeney said GVK Hancock Kevin’s Corner underground and open-cut coal mine would be located 65km northwest of Alpha and 160km west of Emerald in Central Queensland.

“The project would utilise the rail and port facilities proposed as part of the Alpha Coal project, with the Alpha mine to be situated immediately to the south of the Kevin’s Corner site,” Seeney said.

“The project has the potential to deliver thousands of jobs in the Galilee Basin, including 1800 during construction and 1600 once operational.

“Add to that, the sheer size and long lifetime of this project means jobs created during production and the overall effect on the State’s economy will be felt for decades to come.”

GVK Hancock managing director Paul Mulder has denied reports that mining has been delayed by a year for financial reasons.

He told the ABC there had been only “insignificant” delays.

"There were some small delays in approvals and permitting," he reportedly said.

"In addition to that, just due to the magnitude of the project, some of the contracting arrangements for our construction have taken a little longer than what we'd hoped.

"But that said, for a project of this size and scale, we're doing this at record pace."

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