CARMICHAEL is happening, and it is just the beginning.
That is the message from Adani's head of operation in Australia.
Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Brisbane on Friday, Adani Mining chief executive officer Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the company was committed to early work on the railway and mine beginning this year.
His speech attracted protests from anti-mining groups outside the Brisbane Hilton where the lunch was held.
Mr Janakaraj said his goal was not just to build the massive central Queensland Carmichael mine to export coal to India but to "open up" the Galilee basin to greater economic development.
"We've got this fabulous resource in Carmichael to open up the Galilee Basin. It is a long-term process, it is not just about Carmichael," he said.
"The Galilee Basin is about regional economic development. For new projects, anything and everything needs infrastructure and that's what Adani is about."
Mr Janakaraj also dismissed concerns Adani was struggling to find backers to fund the multibillion-dollar project.
"This project will get funded and this project will go ahead," he said.
Mr Janakaraj said by 2025 Carmichael would make up only 30% of Adani's operations in Australia - pointing to the development of a solar power plant at Moranbah and an investment in Australian agriculture.
He said Adani already exported about 1 million tonnes of pulses from Australia to India and planned to increase that.
But Brisbane anti-Carmichael protestor Jude Garlick said she was concerned the mine would impact central Queensland groundwater and the Great Barrier Reef.
"Over 1200 people packed out the Brisbane City Hall on Monday to learn how they can be part of the campaign to stop Adani. Our determination is fierce, and we're here today to tell Adani that will fight, and we will win," she said.
Central Queensland farmer and anti-Carmichael protester Bruce Currie said he had just returned from India and spoken to people who lived near Adani's operations in its home country.
"I am highly concerned about Queensland's water security and even more so since meeting farmers in Adani's home state of Gujarat," Mr Currie said.
But Mr Janakaraj said to oppose the mine was to oppose central Queensland workers and millions of Indians who needed power.
"Anybody who thinks this project is going to stop, you are telling people living in regional Queensland to stop living there and you are telling millions of Indians to live without energy," he said.
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