Reading Time: 3 minutes
Adani promises Carmichael mine will not hire foreign workers on 457 visas
Indian conglomerate Adani Group has promised not to employ overseas skilled workers on Australian 457-category temporary visas for its mega Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who met Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani on 6 December in Townsville, the project’s regional headquarters, said she received “an ironclad guarantee from Adani that there will be no 457 visas as part of the workforce for this major project”.
Australian or overseas employers commonly use the 457 visa to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily.
The Carmichael mine in central Queensland, set to be Australia’s largest, will generate about 10,000 jobs over its lifespan of 50 to 60 years, according to the company.
The $16.5 billion project includes a rail link stretching nearly 400km to a bulk port facility and five regional towns providing support services, with construction rolling out next year.
“Our mining contractors, and the rail and port construction contractors, will be the major employers during the construction and operational stages,” Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj said on 6 December.
“People have to clearly understand this project is a net positive impact on climate change in the world,” he said.
India would remain a large consumer of coal and would source it from elsewhere if Australia did not supply “high-quality, highly-sustainable” mining, he added. “The Carmichael mine is primarily aimed at bringing electricity to 100 million people in India, to improve their quality of life and indeed provide them with better health, education and employment opportunities.”
Palaszczuk said the mine will provide “generational” jobs for the region.
“This is a significant commitment by Adani to regional Queensland where the Carmichael mine and associated projects will generate 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and I am pleased that each of the regional centres will benefit from the Carmichael projects.”
The Adani Group has also said it will begin construction of two new Australian solar plants next year. They announced they will build one of Australia’s largest solar farms, generating between 120 and 150 megawatts of energy, in the steel town of Whyalla in South Australia.
The company will also build a 100-200 megawatt solar plant in the former coal town of Moranbah in Queensland.
“We have promoted Whyalla as a perfect location for solar energy production,” Eddie Hughes, South Australian parliamentary representative for Giles – which includes Whyalla – said in a statement. “We have sun, land, a skilled workforce and a supportive community.”
The solar push comes as Adani continues to fight legal battles against its beleaguered $21 billion Carmichael coal project in Queensland State’s Galilee basin.
The Queensland Supreme Court on Friday 2 December dismissed an environmental activist challenge against the granting of its mining lease, finding there was no breach in the Environmental Protection Act in the regulatory approvals process.
Adani welcomed the decision as a further positive step towards starting major works at the site in the third quarter 2017.
The project has been plagued by delays as environmental activists challenge the mine’s approval in the courts, all finding in favour of Adani.
The activists said the approvals process fails to take into consideration the impact the mine will have on carbon emissions in other jurisdictions and its impact on climate change.
But Adani has said the project will supply higher quality coal for an increased demand in thermal coal, in conjunction with increased solar demand in a growing Indian economy that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of energy poverty.
In October the Queensland government enacted special powers to fast track the remaining state-based approvals.