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‘Pit-to-port project’ announced for Abbot Point

BILLIONS of dollars from India are inundating Queensland’s mining industry as hopeful proposals to develop the Galilee Basin to the west of Rockhampton, Mackay and Gladstone evolved into solid projects.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney was keen to spruik what these dollars and the mining revenue the projects would create, in a week where news on astonishly large mines now appears commonplace.

On Wednesday, Indian giant GVK announced it had signed a construction deal to build the multi-billion dollar third terminal at Abbot Point, near Bowen.

It came just one day after a $4.2 billion plan for an ACMI mine in the same area released its environmental statement, a crucial step on its path to construction.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard watched the pen hit the dotted line on the GVK deal in Delhi, but was unable to answer questions on her returning flight on Thursday.

Mr Seeney may not have been in the room when GVK boss Dr Gunapati Venkata Krishna Reddy signed the deal with Brisbane builders Smithfield and Korean steelmakers Samsung C&T, but he knew what was coming.

He said there were still management plans for GVK to put together but the “game stoppers” were now out of the way.

“I’m very pleased to see the progress,” he told APN on Thursday evening.

“These major projects will provide the next generation of Queenslanders with jobs and the state with income for schools and hospitals.”

Mr Seeney said he was keen to encourage the investment of not just GVK but other Indian mine developers Adani and ACMI.

And he emphasised that all applicants were treated exactly the same, whatever their origin.

The LNP government is currently facing allegations from mining magnate Clive Palmer that Indian investors had been given favourable treatment ahead of other developers.

The deal rounds off GVK’s trio of massive Queensland investments including the Alpha Mine, plus 500km of railway connecting the mine to a GVK port capable of handling 70 million tonnes of coal each year through its two ship berths.

The Alpha Mine and GVK’s neighbouring project Kevin’s Corner will both produce roughly 30 million tonnes of coal per year, making them two of the largest energy coal mines in the world.

Alpha is due to start mining in 2015, with Kevin’s Corner to follow suit 12 months later.

The port will need to be ready to handle the first Alpha coal deliveries.

The Abbot Point expansion is expected to cost between $2 billion and $4 billion with early estimates pointing to a total cost of $10 billion for the mine, rail and port package.

It will create 650 jobs during construction with another 100 needed to operate the port full time.

GVK’s Mr Reddy described the deal for his company as a “key strategic development”.

“This is the first major step towards finalising the construction contracts and completing the financing for the project which is well under way,” he said.

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