Indian group plans Qlds biggest coal mine
An Indian conglomerate is planning to build Queensland's biggest coal mine, west of Rockhampton in the state's central region, including a new town, runway, railway and port facilities.
The Adani Group has proposed a new open-cut and underground mine, mostly on the Moray Downs cattle station, about 100 kilometres north of Emerald.
The company has finalised the purchase of the cattle property from grazier Graeme Acton.
The cost of construction is expected to be at least $6 billion and the mine would produce about 60 million tonnes per year, with a mine life of more than a century.
If the project goes ahead, Adani says it would be the largest investment by an Indian company in Australia.
The company is also planning to establish a new town to deal with the Carmichael mine's remote location.
It says it would also build an airstrip for fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers, along with new railway and port facilities at either Abbot Point or Hay Point.
Adani says exports would predominantly service the Indian domestic power market.
Adani officials are talking to the Federal Government about special visas to fill jobs with overseas workers.
Queensland Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe says he would prefer the company to use locally-sourced labour.
"I have given a very clear message to the companies involved, including Mr Adani directly, that we have a very high expectation about the role that Queenslanders will play in these projects," he said.
Mr Hinchliffe also says there is not sufficient infrastructure in central Queensland's Galilee Basin to cope with the major new mining project.
He says Alpha is the closest town to a number of proposed new mines and its urban infrastructure cannot support them.
"Alpha has a population of about 500 people - the reality is that on one of the three or four mines that are being worked up in the Galilee Basin, the construction workforce for a period at the beginning of the development of the mine would be in the order of 5,000," he said.
Mr Hinchliffe says the project is still in its early stages.
"It is a massive project, a massive development - there is a long way to go in terms of regulatory and environmental approvals," he said.
Federal MP Bob Katter says he is horrified a Labor government would consider importing workers.
Mr Katter says he is in favour of mining development but will fight the proposed Enterprise Migration Agreements.
"My party is committed to get those mines - those three mines in the Galilee Basin, the biggest mines in Australian history - online at 1,000-miles-an-hour," he said.
"There is no way we will agree to bringing those people in from overseas on - to take our jobs and to undermine our wage structures."
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says resource companies should be required to provide training for Queenslanders, rather than flying in workers from overseas.
'Easy way out'
CFMEU spokesman Steve Pierce says the Government is taking the easy way out.
"Rather than make sure that these companies coming in to exploit our natural resources have a long-term goal of providing training, both in trade and non-trade areas for the youth and the unemployed of Queensland, the easiest way around it for them is to say 'it's all too hard, we haven't got the labour now, we'll allow you to bring people in from overseas'," he said.
Mr Pierce says mines should be required to train local workers.
"The Government should mandate - either through legislation or through part of the mine leasing process - to ensure that these people have an absolute guarantee that they have to provide this training," he said.
"All the wishy-washy nonsense words that we've seen in the past about 'best endeavours' is not acceptable, because coal companies spend a million dollars to save a cent on training."
Meanwhile, AgForce president Brent Finlay says the rural lobby group is concerned about the sale of grazing land for mining.
"Any change of ownership or any change of land use, particularly when it's very good agricultural land, is a concern to us," he said.
"Whether the whole area's going to be taken out of agricultural production or whether only a small area will be and the rest still used for agricultural production, we'd like to know as soon as we can."