The race to open a $40 billion (R308bn) coal region in Australia is being led by billionaires Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer. Victory depends on who wins approval to build a 500km railroad to the coast.
Rinehart, 58, Asia-Pacific’s richest woman, and Indian billionaire GV Krishna Reddy’s GVK Group are developing a $10bn mine, rail and port project in the landlocked Galilee Basin in northern Queensland state. Adani Enterprises, India’s biggest coal importer, has a competing $6.8bn plan to build Australia’s largest coal mine in the same area.
The proposed Galilee railroad will allow Australia, already the second-largest shipper of coal for utilities, to more than double exports as China and India compete for supplies. Palmer’s China First has threatened an A$8 billion (R66bn) lawsuit against a fourth rail proponent, QR National, the nation’s largest coal train operator.