The Australian government has given a green signal to GVK Group’s $10 billion Alpha Coal project in Queensland.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has given an approval to construct and operate the Alpha Coal Mine and a railway line between the mine and the port at Abbot Point, near Bowen, GVK said in a statement.

Last year, GVK had acquired 79 per cent stake in the Alpha Coal and Alpha West projects and a 100 per cent stake in the Kevin’s Corner project in Queensland from Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd.

Earlier, the Federal Government of Australia had raised objections to the environmental clearance given by the Queensland government to the project.

GVK Vice-Chairman G V Sanjay Reddy said this is an important milestone for the projects which will provide significant benefits to the Alpha and Bowen regions.

The projects are expected to provide 2,000 on-going jobs in operations directly, employ around 4,000 during construction and return to the government $1.5 billion annually in royalties and taxes at peak production, he said.

These projects hold total resources of 8 billion tonnes and a peak capacity of 80 million tonnes per annum.

When combined, these projects will create one of the largest coal mining operations in the world, the company said in the statement.

The Alpha Coal project has a mine life of over 30 years and a capacity of 32 mtpa which makes it suitable for high production open cut mining.

GVK has also acquired a 100 per cent stake in the 500 km rail line and a 60 million tonne per annum (mtpa) port as part of the “pit-to-port” logistics solution.

“This positive decision also paves the way to ensure more than 1.4 billion people (largely in Asia) that face major shortage of electricity, are provided with an additional source of coal to enhance supply of electricity to the region, thus improving quality of life of the people and overall economic development,” Mr Reddy said.

The Queensland government has also selected GVK’s Rail Corridor as the north-south corridor for connecting the Galilee Basin to the Port of Abbot Point in Australia.

GVK’s coal mining project with its superior quality low ash, low sulphur and low gas thermal coal, will be reliably exported mainly to Asian destinations.

Construction is expected to start next year with first coal being produced in 2015-16, the release added.

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