The Australian has a look at an Indian corporation's plan to vertically integrate power consumption starting from Queensland's coal fields - From pit to port: India's $10bn coal export plan. When I read stories like this I tend to think averting serious global warming problems really isn't going to be easy...
INDIAN energy giant Adani Enterprises has moved foreign investment in Australia to a new level, with a $10 billion scheme to control every stage of its booming coal export business from mine to port.
In his first major interview, the chief executive of Adani's Australian operations, Jignesh Derasari, declared the company wanted to control "whatever component the coal touches", including a $3bn railway network to haul coal from the emergent Galilee Basin in central Queensland to two ports, one of which it purchased this year and the other which it will build at Dudgeon Point near Mackay.
From these outlets, Adani-owned bulk carriers would ship the coal to India to supply a chain of seven power stations operated by the company.
The scheme is one of the most ambitious vertically integrated resource developments ever proposed in Australia and comes after the federal government rejected bids by Chinese concerns to set up mine-to-port iron ore operations in Western Australia. It will make Adani India's largest single investor in this country.
The massive mine is being developed in the Galilee Basin about 400km inland of Mackay, Australia's new coal frontier, where Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting and Clive Palmer's Waratah Holdings are also pursuing major developments.
Hancock Prospecting is in negotiations with Indian company GVK to sell its holdings in the area for $2bn, while Waratah has a contract to sell 30 million tonnes of coal to China over the next 20 years.
Mr Derasari's candid admission that Adani wants to control the production chain at every level from the Galilee Basin adds another dimension to the intensifying row between coal and coal-seam gas developers and farmers over land access. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell bought into this yesterday, saying he respected "the fact that there are parts of our state which should and always will be kept as agriculture".
Mr Derasari told The Weekend Australian that vertigal integration was central to the company's development plan in the Galilee. "Whatever component the coal touches, we would like to be in control of that," he said. "So that means the mine, the rail, the port where the coal is transported out of, the ship that the coal sits on until it gets to the port in India. Then it goes on a conveyer belt to the power station."