Adani, GVK win Australian state backing to expand coal port

The new government in Australia’s Queensland state unexpectedly smoothed the way for two Indian companies to expand a port for two coal projects opposed by green groups, in an attempt to boost the struggling mining industry, the state’s lifeblood.

Indian conglomerates Adani Enterprises and GVK, with separate projects worth at least A$17 billion ($13 billion), had feared the new Labor government would hold back development of the coal-rich Galilee Basin amid concerns about carbon emissions and damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

The new government was eager on Wednesday to make clear it wanted to promote jobs in the mining industry, after toppling a conservative government in January that was promising to spend taxpayers’ money to help fund the port and rail for Adani’s Carmichael project.

“We’re no fools. We realise that jobs have to come from economic development, and economic development in this state has a lot to do with mining,” state development minister Anthony Lynham told Reuters in an interview.

“So we encourage mining, especially in the Galilee Basin, because we know that if the area is opened up, others will follow.”

The government rejected requests from Greenpeace and community group GetUp to revoke approvals for Adani to operate in Queensland based on its environmental track record in India.

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