Bravus – formerly known as Adani – says it has struck coal for the first time at the Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
- Bravus can begin mining after striking a coal seam at the Carmichael Mine, but its rail line to Abbot point remains incomplete
- Environmentalists say “holding up a few lumps of coal” is a meaningless publicity stunt given the company can’t export it
- India will be the key buyer when operations get underway in earnest
The milestone means the extraction of thermal coal at the 44,700-hectare site can begin.
Chief executive David Boshoff said hitting the first seam was a moment of triumph after years of work.
“Throughout the last two years of construction and during the many years when we fought to secure our approvals our people have put their hearts and souls into this project,” he said.
“Nearly two years ago today we received our final approvals to develop the Carmichael mine and rail project.
Exports ‘on track’ — but not on rail
But any coal dug up will be stored at the mine because on the rail line, which will link the mine to the Abbot Point coal terminal, is yet to be completed.
“We’re on track to export first coal this year,” Mr Boshoff said.
“Despite reaching this significant milestone we will not take our eyes off our larger goal of getting coal to market.”
He said India would be the key customer for the mine, which would produce 10 million tonnes of coal per annum for the country.
“The coal will be sold at index pricing and we will not be engaging in transfer pricing practices, which means that all of our taxes and royalties will be paid here in Australia,” Mr Boshoff said.
A decade of controversy
The mine has been at the centre of numerous protests and environmentalist campaigns in the decade since it was first proposed.
Last month environmental advocates won a legal challenge against the federal government and Bravus over its proposed water use.
But it was deemed to have adequate measures in place to minimise erosion issues near a major rail project, despite having potentially polluted a waterway.
‘Just for show’
The Mackay Conservation Society has been campaigning against the mine since it was proposed.
Climate and coal campaign manager Sunny Hungerford said today’s announcement was nothing to celebrate.
“Adani holding up a few lumps of coal at the moment is just for show,” she said.
“People power has held this back for 10 years and people power will continue to hold it back.
“Adani are just wasting millions of their own dollars.”
Ms Hungerford said the possibility of operations getting underway was very concerning for environmentalists.
“We want Adani and their investors and contractors to know that supporting the Carmichael Mine, they are supporting the destruction of Wangan and Jagalingou land, Queensland’s precious water resources and the Great Barrier Reef,” she said
Ms Hungerford said opponents’ fears were amplified by UNESCO’s draft plan to label the reef as in danger.