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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Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is set to deliver six million tonnes of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”