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Indian mining giant Adani said on Friday that it is ready to start work on a 388-km rail link of its proposed 16.5 billion dollars Carmichael coal mine project in Australia.
Adani Australia CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the project was advancing on many fronts with milestones being achieved every day, including in surveying, geotechnical works, detailed designing, cultural heritage and financing.
"Every day we are moving forward. Milestones are being achieved every day. Our pre-construction works are well advanced. We have pre-construction teams working at the mine site and along the rail corridor doing cultural heritage inspections and recordings," he said.
"We will break ground within days to mark the official start of work on the rail link. And we remain confident and committed to delivering first coal in March 2020. We also still have major contract announcements in coming weeks," Janakraj said in a statement.
The latest announcement has come after several protests were held across Australia against the project last week.
The 388-km rail line will connect the coal mine to the seaport.
Rallies were held in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Port Douglas in North Queensland where thousands of protesters took to streets as part of a National Day of Action, demanding the project be stopped.
In response, Janakaraj had said that the company was committed to create jobs in Australia and there was large support for the project in regional Australia.
The company, which has managed to clear 200 stringent conditions for the project and several legal challenges from environmental groups, is aiming to start exporting coal via its Abbot Point coal terminal in 2020.
The mine, after its completion, will be Australia's largest coal mine with six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines.
Last week, Adani also named the regional Australian cities of Rockhampton and Townsville as 'Fly-in-Fly-out' (FIFO) worker hubs for its employees.
Adani and the Queensland government have highlighted that the mine will prove beneficial for the region.
However, environmental activists are concerned about the potential impacts to the Great Barrier Reef as the coal will be shipped through areas close to the national icon.
There are also concerns the coal burned will contribute to climate change, which is the biggest threat to the reef.