CHINA> National
Australia, China nail down huge coal deal
Updated: 2009-05-27 14:57

CANBERRA -- Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer announced a massive coal deal with China on Wednesday that will require building the country's largest thermal coal mine.

The project called "China First" will mine 1.4 billion tons of coal in the Galilee Basin, southwest of Mackay in central Queensland in east Australia.

Related readings:
Australia, China nail down huge coal deal Rio shares climb on Chinalco deal news
Australia, China nail down huge coal deal Rio cuts key iron ore prices by 33%
Australia, China nail down huge coal deal Rio to sell aluminum JV stake to Zhongjin
Australia, China nail down huge coal deal Four Chinese banks to lend Chinalco $21b to fund Rio Tinto deal

Australia, China nail down huge coal deal Chinalco deal 'win-win' for Australia-China: Chinese ambassador

Palmer revealed it would cost US$5.1 billion and employ 6,000 people to get up and running by 2013. It will require 490 kilometers of new rail lines and extensive port construction.

Palmer, who returned to Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, from China this week, said his company Waratah Coal had entered into a memorandum of understanding with China's Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) to develop the project.

"MCC has agreed to be the engineering, procurement and civil (EPC) contractor of the project by providing a fixed price, lump sum construction price for the entire project," Palmer said. "They have also agreed to arrange debt funding of up to 60 percent of the total capital cost.

As a result, MCC has guaranteed that it will purchase 30 million tons of coal per annum, which equates to US$55 billion over the 25-year lifespan of the project.

Palmer estimated the project would add about 45,000 jobs to the Australian economy and urged the Australian and Queensland governments to fast track approval.