The circumstances of Adani Group’s very public decision to delay boardroom debate on a final investment decision for the opening stanza of its $16.5 billion, 60-year Carmichael coal campaign would suggest the economics Queensland’s much-vaunted new coal horizon are far more fragile than the potential miner wants us to appreciate.
Either that or we are seeing a very rare level of brinkmanship between Adani and its host governments over the financial mechanics by which the Indian conglomerate might invest in building a massive new mining complex in Queensland’s Galilee Basin and in constructing the railway need to carry Carmichael coal to an Adani-owned export terminal at Abbot Point.
I mean, here we have a coal project proponent that has spent seven years driving through jungles of red and green tape, and more recently through a brutal wilderness of anti-coal resistance, only to belatedly find itself in desperate need for about $1.2 billion of government assistance if the project is to happen.
The most recent guidance from Adani is that the first phase of the Carmichael project will cost about $5.2 billion, an estimate that includes the $1.3 billion or so already sunk in tenement acquisition, pre-approval construction work and in coursing various regulatory processes.
That leaves a funding task of $3.9 billion to build the initial mining footprint and the railway needed to carry Carmichael coal the 388 kilometres that stretch between the mine and Adani’s coal export terminal at Abbot Point.
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