Melbourne: Indian mining giant Adani on Thursday named the regional Australian cities of Rockhampton and Townsville as 'Fly-in-Fly-out' (FIFO) hubs for its employees working in the 16.5 billion dollars Carmichael coal project.
Adani Australia announced this after the councils of two North Queensland cities yesterday agreed to invest over 15 million dollars each to build an airstrip in Galilee Basin. The airport would be owned jointly by the two councils.
At present, there are around 200 employees in Townsville but according to the ABC, Adani plans to base more than 1,000 FIFO workers in each city that will be needed for construction works.
Under FIFO, companies fly their employees to the remote work site instead of relocating them and their families permanently to a town near the mines.
The employees work for a number of days and are then flown back to their hometowns for a number of days of rest. This is a common practise in the mining industry in Australia and Canada.
"The two councils - Rockhampton and Townsville - will invest a total of 31 million dollars to build this airport for Adani at the mine site," Adani Australia CEO and Country Head, Jeyakumar Janakaraj told PTI.
The two cities will be the twin marshalling points for one of the largest industrial projects in Australia's recent history.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said that councillors yesterday approved the investment of up to 15.5 million dollars over two financial years in a joint venture with Rockhampton City Council, to build and own the airport down in the Galilee Basin.
"After eight years of challenge, the Carmichael Project is underway, signalling the opening of the Galilee Basin which will drive the growth of the emerging Asian 'Tiger' economies including India," Janakaraj said.
"We continue to face activists but we are underway. Recent attempts by activists to disrupt our operations, and TV programmes aimed at undermining community support, have failed," he said.
The project, he said, had cleared almost 200 strict conditions apart from legal challenges in the last seven years and was now moving ahead, with early works to begin next week.
"All the design work and the pre-construction work is going on," the Adani Australia CEO said, adding that it include project management work, cultural heritage work on site, de-watering work on the mine site, Geotech work at the rail corridor.
"We have the complete support, trust and faith of people where we operate. And these activists are completely motivated with vested interest...It is very sad that media agencies are being to propel these negative stories," he said.
Janakaraj said the first activity will be construction of an airstrip close to the mine to deliver construction workers from Townsville and Rockhampton.
"Then we can start construction of the Carmichael thermal coal mine and the western sections of the Carmichael Rail Network," he said, adding that the FIFO decision had been difficult.
"Both cities are winners," he said, adding that Rockhampton and Townsville put in commercially strong and competitive bids to be the single FIFO hub for the Carmichael Project.