Alpha Coal Project

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The Alpha Coal Project is a coal mine project jointly proposed by is a project proposed by Hancock Coal, Hancock Alpha West Pty Ltd and Hancock Coal Infrastructure Pty Ltd. The project is located approximately 40 kilometres north west of Alpha in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. In mid-September 2011 GVK announced that, via subsidiaries, it had entered into agreements with Hancock Propsoecting to buy 79% of Hancock Coal's Alpha Coal Project, the Alpha West coal project Hancock's interest in "the rail and port project connecting the above coal projects to the port of Abbot Point and Abbot Point T3 expansion project".[1]

The project would produce 30 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum. The project also requires the construction of a 495 long section of railway to the Port of Abbot Point. The total cost of the mine, port and rail facilities for the project have been estimated to be $7.9 billion comprising $3.4 billion for the mine, $2.8billion for the rail connection and $1.7billion on the export terminal. The Queensland government states that the projects would employ 3740 during construction and 2650 when operating.[2]

The proponents have submitted an Environmental Impact Statement and the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation is currently reviewing the supplementary EIS material submitted by the companies. The department states that its current review of the revised proposed will be completed on October 3.[2]


On its website, Hancock Coal states that "in 1993 Mrs Rinehart decided HPPL [Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd] should apply for the Alpha thermal coal tenements in Queensland. An extensive exploration program and a pre-feasibility study have since been undertaken by HPPL, and a JORC reserve of in excess of two billion tonnes of good quality thermal coal, has been identified. HPPL is currently in the process of seeking partners to develop this major resource."[3]

A trial shipment of coal from the Alpha coal mine is scheduled for June 26, 2011. In a media release Hancock Coal stated that "the first shipment is destined for a power station in the Republic of Korea." The company stated that the "first coal export ceremony" will be "attended by prospective international coal customers, predominantly from the power generation sector. Hancock has ensured a broad ranging customer base encompassing some 13 buyers in 6 countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Korea, and India."[4]

Project timetable

According to the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation the project timetable to date has been:[2]

  • 18 September 2008: Application, initial advice statement (PDF, 710 KB), submitted.
  • 24 October 2008: Gazettal of ‘significant project’ declaration.
  • 11 December 2008: Project referred to federal environment minister.
  • 13 January 2009: Project deemed a ‘controlled action’ by federal environment minister. Project to be assessed under bilateral agreement.
  • 9 March 2009: Public consultation on draft terms of reference for EIS.
  • 1 June 2009 to 7 February 2009: Terms of reference for EIS (PDF, 1.7 MB) released
  • 5 November to 20 December 2010: Public consultation on EIS
  • 5 September 2011 to 3 October 2011: Submitter and agency consultation on supplementary EIS (SEIS)

Importing guest workers

In February 2012, GVK vice-chairman Sanjay Reddy suggested that the company was likely to apply to use guest workers via the Enterprise Migration Scheme for the Alpha Coal Project. "Anybody who has an investment of more than $2 billion, plus more than some 2000 workforce, will be eligible for it,” Mr Reddy told The Australian Financial Review. "If we have an option to apply and get – as per the policy of the government – certain approvals, certainly we’ll do it.”[5]

However, following controversy about the approval of an Enterprise Migration Agreement for a Gina Rinehart iron ore project in Western Australia, GVK softened their position. In May 2012 Reddy tolf the Australian Financial Review that "we are in the process of negotiating our engineering, procurement and construction [EPC] contracts,” he said. “Once we finalise with the EPC contractors then we will decide."[6]

Contact details


Articles and resources


  1. GVK, "GVK acquires Hancock Coal and Infrastructure Projects in Australia", Media Release, September 16, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, "Alpha coal mine", Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, website, accessed September 2011.
  3. Hancock Coal, "Board and Senior Management", Hancock Coal, accessed May 2011.
  4. Hancock Coal, "Hancock locks in first coal exports from Queensland", Media Release, May 23, 2011.
  5. Dan Hall, "GVK plans to import labour", Australian Financial Review, February 24, 2012. (Subscription required)
  6. Dan Hall, "Foreign workers ‘last resort’", Australian Financial Review, May 29, 2012.(Subscription required)

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