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Galilee Basin could be preparing for fire sale after long delay – Analysts

Coal News - Published on Fri, 22 Dec 2017

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ABC NET reported that there is speculation that the stalled Gina Rinehart-backed Alpha coal mine project in the Galilee Basin could be progressing, after the company lobbyist met with key Opposition politicians during the Queensland election campaign, sparking predictions of an impending fire sale.

GVK Hancock lobbyist Josh Euler gave "project updates" to Opposition MP now leader Deb Frecklington, former Opposition environment spokesman Christian Rowan and crossbencher Robbie Katter at three separate fundraisers last month.

This has raised eyebrows among analysts and activists after GVK's proposed Alpha and Kevin's Corner mines in the Galilee Basin appeared to be going nowhere because of financial problems.

Climate activists once determined to stop GVK a joint venture between Australia's richest person and India's wealthy Reddy family from opening up the world's biggest new coal precinct had since switched focus to Adani.

Institute for Energy Economics and Analysis spokesman Tim Buckley said the GVK venture appeared "absolutely dead" but the company could be preparing for a fire sale.

Mr Euler downplayed the significance of the meetings, but he said GVK was determined to get its government approvals and mining lease after fighting off court challenges from conservationists. He said that "Really the only reason that those meetings were put there in terms of project updates, they were done in a fundraiser, and we're happy to go along to those things. But our team constantly meets with government to make sure that everyone's aware of where the project's up to and where the project's advancing."

Mr Euler denied the project, which GVK claims would create double the jobs of Adani's mine at 20,000, had stalled. He said that "It's just the project is at a point where legal challenges have to be finalised and [government] approvals have to be all sorted out … before going to the bank.”

"We would have seen thousands of jobs throughout central Queensland years ago had it not been for activists slowing the process down."

Electoral Commission of Queensland records show that Mr Euler's firm Resolution PR declared donations of USD 2,900 to the LNP and USD 3,000 to Katter's Australian Party two days before the election.

A spokeswoman for Ms Frecklington said there were "15 people at the function" where she met Mr Euler on November 13 and "no specific discussions of individual projects".

Dr Rowan said he recalled only meeting a group of mining representatives and talking about the LNP's interest in streamlining government approvals "while maintaining a good rigorous environmental compliance process".

Mr Katter said there was little discussed in his meeting "other than [Mr Euler saying] 'we're positive about things going ahead'".

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Fri, 22 Dec 2017
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