In A Sunset Industry, Economics Of Adani's Australian Coal Mine Questioned



A crash in Australian thermal coal prices is raising fresh questions about the viability of a controversial $4 billion coal mine just a week ahead of a national election in which climate change is a key issue.

Final approval of the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, owned by India’s Adani Enterprises, should come in “a matter of weeks, not months” following nearly a decade on the drawing board, the company’s mining chief executive, Lucas Dow, told Reuters last month.

But a 40 percent slump in benchmark Australian thermal coal prices since mid-2018 to a two-year low last month, points to tight profit margins and questions as to whether the economics will support the launch of the mine as soon as next year.

Adani has said it is aiming to start producing 10 million tonnes a year of coal from March 2020, but analysts say the target date is optimistic.