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Adani Australia says it is still on track to export the first coal from its Carmichael mine, west of Rockhampton, from 2021.

Excavation equipment arrived this week to begin removing the overburden rock and soil – the natural rock and soil that sits above and around the ore body – around the coal seams at the controversial mine in Queensland’s thermal-coal rich Galilee Basin.

Adani Mining Australia chief executive David Boshoff ceremonially begins the removal of rock overburden at the Carmichael thermal coal mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin.
Adani Mining Australia chief executive David Boshoff ceremonially begins the removal of rock overburden at the Carmichael thermal coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.CREDIT:CAMERON LAIRD

Adani Mining Australia’s new chief executive officer, David Boshoff, said the work to remove the overburden was a significant step in the mine’s “construction schedule”.

“We are on track to export first coal in 2021,” Mr Boshoff said.

“It’s great to see our big new gear, the Liebherr R 996B excavator and CAT 796 dump trucks, hard at work,” he said.

“In time they will reach the coal seam.

Equipment arrives to remove the overburden from Adani's Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.
Equipment arrives to remove the overburden from Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.CREDIT:CAMERON LAIRD.

“Then we will be excavating coal.

“We need to remove around four cubic metres of rock for every tonne of coal we mine.”

 Adani Australia’s previous chief executive, Lucas Dow, stepped down on July 10.

Mr Boshoff said the workforce at the Carmichael Mine site had expanded as the project began.

“There are now more than 700 people working on the mine and rail project construction and numbers are growing as more contractors arrive to build the coal handling plant and to work on the railway,” he said.

“The expansion of our mine accommodation to 400 beds is complete to cater for the additional workforce.

“We will soon be able to accommodate another 1200 people in our temporary rail accommodation villages.”He said Adani Australia remained on track to create 1500 direct and 6750 indirect jobs from the mine.

The Carmichael Mine will produce 10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year.

The coal will be exported to India and south-east Asia.

“It will be used to generate affordable and reliable electricity for communities in India and south-east Asia,” Mr Boshoff said.

Adani Power Limited – the parent company of Adani Australia – last week rejected claims it was exploiting land owners next to a thermal coal plant in Godda in north-east India.

The parent company said the land had been acquired legally to build a power plant to provide energy to Bangladesh, while the people of Godda had been compensated financially and the compensation deposited in accounts specified by the Indian government.

In Australia, the economics of the Australian thermal coal operation were viable, Mr Boshoff said.

“The quality of the resource and forecast demand from our target markets of India and south-east Asia mean that the project’s economics are strong,” he said.

He said the company had chosen to use “conventional truck and excavator mining techniques” across the project to remove the mine overburden, because it could be managed more sensitively.

“Our first five mining trucks and excavator have arrived on site and are working,” he said.

“The assembly of our second excavator will commence in the coming weeks.
 “We will also add more than a dozen mining trucks to our fleet over the coming months.”

The coal trucks will be assembled in Mackay, with each taking a team of about 40 men and women up to 10 weeks to put together, he said.

They are then transported more than 300 kilometres west from Mackay to the Carmichael coal mine site.