Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani on Sunday said he hopeful of starting the USD 22 billion Carmichael coal mine and port cum railhead project in Queensland by August this year amid opposition by a section of the business community.
"We expect the final federal approvals by May-June. We need just about three months from thereon to actually begin the work on the mine. Which means we can kick-start work from August this year," Adani told PTI in an interview here over the weekend.
He was flanked by the premier of Queensland Anastasia Palaszczuk, who was in town leading a 25-member delegation of mayors and state officials after visiting the Mundra port and solar power farms of the Adanis in Gujarat over the weekend.
Adani said he expects the first coal to come out of the mines by 2020.
The company has nearly halved the first phase of mining project to 25 mt per annum from the original plan of 40 mt, he said.
The Adani group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.
Echoing Adani's confidence, the premier sounded sanguine about securing the pending federal approvals anytime soon as her country's national parliament is in session now and is keen to begin a debate on the project.
"Most of the approvals are in. There is no approval pending from my government. Some legislations are currently before the federal parliament," she said.
"I don't believe there will be any obstacles for that final piece of legislation in the federal parliament and the environmental conditions have been attached as well," Palaszczuk said.
The support for the investment in Queensland comes just days after Australian cricket legends Ian and Greg Chappell and scores of other prominent Aussies urged Adani to abandon the USD 21.7 billion project.
The company, however, rejected the demand as "a motivated attempt by a very small group of 76 misled people."
The open letter, dated on March 16, cited public opposition, risks to miners' health, climate change and potential impact on the fragile Great Barrier Reef as reasons for their request not to proceed with the project in the Galilee Basin.
The letter warned that the project could hit the bilateral relationships, especially on the sporting and trade front.
The USD 21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine and port-cum-railhead project is said to be one of the world's largest and has already received the green light from the federal and Queensland governments.