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GVK signs contracts for Australia pit-to-port coal project

New Delhi,Business/Economy, Wed, 17 Oct 2012 IANS

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) India's GVK Power Wednesday signed contracts worth $2 billion with South Korea's Samsung C&T and Australia's Smithbridge Group to build a 60-million tonne per annum T3 port for the Alpha Coal Project in Queensland.

The construction contract was signed in the presence of visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. The port is expected to be ready to deliver its first coal 36 months after the commencement of construction.

The company said it will tie up all funds by the third quarter of the next calendar year for the $10 billion pit-to-port investment.

"We got all our approvals last week. From this week, we are starting our financing programme and construction contracts. Q3 of the next calendar year will be financial closure and construction would start," G.V. Sanjay Reddy, vice-chairman, GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, told mediapersons after signing the pact.

The other construction contracts for the mine infrastructure, wash plant and rail will be announced in next few months, Reddy said.

Samsung C&T will provide majority of the steel and supply ship loaders from Korea and other countries. Smithbridge will be responsible for engineering, marine works and providing local Australian expertise.

Described by an Australian diplomat here as a "project of national importance", the development of GVK's terminal 3 at the port of Abbot Point was recently given the clearance by Australian Government.

GVK acquired the Australian coal mine in Queensland with 8 billion tonnes of reserve for $1.26 billion from Hancock Coal Pty Ltd. The first phase includes developing a 30-million tonne per annum mine, 500 km of railway line and a 60-million tonne per annum port.

The mine is expected to start production from 2015-16.

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