Melbourne: Indian energy giant Adani's controversial Carmichael coal and mine project in Australia has received approval for a water licence from Queensland state government, a "milestone" in the approval process for the 21.7 billion dollar project.
Adani Australia confirmed this on its Facebook page by stating that it has achieved another milestone in the approval process for the project.
"The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has granted an associated water licence to allow the safe operation of the mine. The modelling assessed by the department shows that up to 4.55 GL of groundwater could be taken per year," it said.
With the granting of the associated water licence there are now 100 conditions related to groundwater including specific conditions relating to monitoring and reporting, the company said.
It said that under the conditions of the associated water licence for groundwater, Adani will also need to establish good agreements with groundwater users who could potentially be affected by changes to water availability or quality.
Adani Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj, at a recently held 'Energy and Resource: Mega projects' told a business forum that the company was eyeing to start the rail and mine construction in August/September this year.
"This project will get funded and will see execution this year," Janakaraj said. While highlighting the growing need for energy consumption in India, Janakaraj said to meet the growing demand Adani had imported 77 million tonnes of coal from Australia last year.
"(India) does have resources but those resources are limited, they have their own challenge(s) because they also have to feed 1.2 billion people and this is exactly where countries and vast areas like Australia play a very strategic role in terms of the food security, the energy security and long term strategic partnership between large countries," he said.
"India's demand in terms of gigawatt and in terms of coal will continue to grow and that is something that, as a market, we will need to be extremely well prepared to take on," he said.
"We are the largest power generator in the private sector and in India the mix of energy is always a very interesting one to see. The balance of energy mix will shift and thats a very important thing and a very good thing as well," he said.
"We have a large solar ambition in Australia as well," he said and disclosed that Adani's first solar plant will be in Moranbah, Queensland, with the intention of operating in the solar space in Australia before 2022.
"It is extremely important for us to keep this strategy in the right direction. We are an energy player so we play in the long-term sustainable economic growth of renewable energy," he said.
Meanwhile, Australia India Business Council (AIBC) today issued a statement to support Adani Group's Carmichael project and dubbed it as a "critical part" of the Indian infrastructure giant's energy strategy.
AIBC National Chair Sheba Nandkeolyar said the project will actually contribute to reducing carbon emissions because coal from the Carmichael mine produces around 30 per cent less carbon than coal sourced locally in India and imported from Indonesia.
"The Australia India Business Council understands the importance of the Adani Carmichael project for the Australia-India relationship. AIBC supports the project and commends Adani's patience to see this investment through," Nandkeolyar said.
AIBC noted Adani as the single-largest Indian investor in Australia and said it encouraged more Indian companies to consider investing in Australia. Nandkeolyar said the Australian environmental authorities have imposed strict conditions to mitigate any environmental risks.
"This project will provide jobs for thousands of people in rural Queensland and at the same time help meet India’s soaring energy demand with cleaner coal than is currently being used for cooking and power generation," she said.