The coal mine being built by Adani in central Queensland is just the first stage of a project that could expand to six times its size.
That is according to mining boss Lucas Dow, who has described the 10 million-tonne-a-year Galilee Basin project an “initial phase” in footage obtained by the ABC.
“We’re permitted up to 60 million tonnes, so the reality is we’ve got an opportunity to expand,” he says in a video recording.
He is then heard asking one member of the audience: “Sorry, are you recording that?”
Adani downsized the project in November 2018 from a 60 million-tonne-a-year mine, costing $16.5 billion, to a 10-to-15 million tonnes a year mine, costing about $2 billion.
Permits remain in place for the larger amount, but it is understood the company has no firm plans to expand it to that level.
It is also building a rail network with an initial capacity of 40 million tonnes a year that would be open to other companies granted approval to mine the coal-rich Galilee Basin.
The rail network’s capacity could also be increased to transport more coal in future.
The ABC reports the video of Mr Dow was filmed at a Liberal National Party fundraiser on the Gold Coast in July 2019.
An invitation for “Lunch with Lucas Dow” on July 17 was distributed by the party’s state member for Southport, Rob Molhoek, with tickets from $99.
“Lucas will speak about the challenges of securing the necessary approvals involved in bringing Adani to Queensland, the global energy market and what the Adani mine means to the Queensland economy,” the invitation said.
Adani gave $4000 to the Liberal National Party in December, on top of the $25,000 it has donated to the party since April 2017.
Last year party leader Deb Frecklington promised to freeze royalties for a decade and fast-track approvals for mining projects in the region.