Adani has shifted to a narrow gauge railway plan utilising existing rail infrastructure, in an effort to get its controversial Carmichael coal project off the ground.
The Indian energy company now plans to build 200 kilometres of narrow gauge railway linking the Carmichael site in the Galilee Basin to Aurizon’s existing network.
The original plan was for a dedicated 388-kilometre standard gauge railway to get coal from Carmichael to Adani’s export site at Abbot Point.
Adani Australia’s mining chief executive Lucas Dow said on September 13 the new plan would reduce capital costs for the rail portion of the project.
“By connecting to the existing network we can fast-track project delivery, reduce capital expenditure and deliver coal more quickly to countries in Asia with growing energy demand,” Dow said from Rockhampton.
The narrow gauge railway would follow the same route as was planned for the standard gauge route. Initial capacity will be 40 million tonnes per annum, to easily cater for Carmichael’s planned 27.5 million tonne production rate.
“We’re 100% committed to getting the Carmichael Project off the ground. Delivering practical, time efficient and cost-effective solutions such as this new rail design will ensure project benefits are realised as quickly as possible, especially in regional Queensland where people are eager to secure jobs and opportunities for small business,” Dow said.
Adani says it has all the necessary approvals and land access agreements to build the railway.
The new plan is an effort to clear funding obstacles faced by Adani getting Carmichael off the ground.
Adani was last year blocked from accessing $5 billion from the Commonwealth’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, when Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would veto the move.