State Bank of India Backs Adani
India’s largest public sector bank, State Bank of India, showed support for Indian mining group Adani to the tune of $1 billion. Adani is looking to build the Carmichael Coal mine, rail and port project in Queensland, Australia’s Galilee Basin. Total projected cost of the project is anywhere from $7 billion to $15 billion, depending on your source.
Considered the largest thermal coal project in history, sign-off on this project comes despite a recent dip in coal prices, as a result, has stalled rival projects including the Alpha Project, which is also based in the Galilee Basin and is co-owned by Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart. Mining giants BHP Billiton and Glencore have also halted plans to develop mines in Queensland due to these losses.
However, according to Adani’s Chairman and Founder, Gautam Adani, “The MOU with SBI is a significant milestone in the development of our Carmichael mine. It is a unique asset that lies at the heart of our investment in Queensland and Australia, and aligns perfectly with our clear vision for delivering energy security in the Indian market.”
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But what does this mean for the environment? Anti-coal protestors ranging from various green-focused special interest groups to the United Nations aren’t too pleased with this build, which plans to be completed by 2017 and is meant to produce up to 60 million tons of thermal coal per year—and rightfully so: Since the federal government reduced environmental regulations for the mine, the actual footprint this mine will leave is unknown. What is known, however, is that more than 86,000 acres will be flattened for the build. At risk? The endangered black-throated finch and nearly endangered yakka stink, among others.
Initially Adani was required to secure additional land to compensate however they now have two years post-project to meet this requirement. In addition, Abbot Point, the port Adani is targeting for expansion, has environmentalists up in arms, as pointed out by The Guardian Australia: “The construction of this port will involve dredging 3 million cubic metres of seabed. The dredge spoil will be dumped into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”
Economically, the Queensland government sees the promise of future, estimating the Carmichael mine will contribute nearly $3 billion on an annual basis and create more than 6,000 new jobs. Adani agrees, stating on the company’s website that “The project benefits will be felt locally, regionally and across Queensland providing much needed job opportunities and generating around $22 billion in mining taxes and royalties in just the first half of the project life. This will assist in providing much needed public funding to help deliver schools, hospitals, roads and other services and stimulating activity throughout the economy.”
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Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.