Mumbai: Adani Group-promoted Adani Enterprises Ltd has agreed to pay A$155 million ($145 million) upfront to Linc Energy Ltd of Australia to buy out the latter’s rights to future royalties from Adani’s Carmichael coal project.

Mining at Carmichael coal project in Queensland, northeastern Australia, has been delayed due to the lack of several government approvals.

Linc Energy on Thursday entered into a so-called binding option deed with the Adani Group for the transfer of Linc Energy’s benefits in and under the ‘option deed’ for A$155 million.

Linc Energy was entitled to royalties of A$2 per tonne of coal, indexed to inflation, over the first 20 years of the production at the mine. Adani Group had bought the mine from Singapore-listed Linc for A$500 million in August 2010.

Thursday’s deal means Adani Group need not pay royalties any longer, as it is paying an amount upfront instead.

Linc Energy, which is in the process of selling non-core assets, said that the transaction with Adani is of benefit to its shareholders, given the current coal market conditions and the projected time needed for production to start at Carmichael mines.

A Linc Energy statement said Adani will pay it A$155 million in two instalment: A$90 million in cash within five days of the exercise of the option and the balance A$65 million in cash on or before 12 months from the date of signing of the Deed of Assignment and Assumption.

It is expected that the option will be exercised (at discretion of either Adani or Linc Energy) between 50 and 65 days from the date of announcement.

Adani group in a statement emailed to Reuters news agency said the agreement “reflects Adani’s confidence in the progress of Carmichael mine, which received final federal environmental approvals from the Australian government last month. The agreement... underlines Adani’s consistent commitment to ensure that the high-quality coal from the Carmichael mine is cost-efficient."

On 28 July, the Adani group won the Australian government’s conditional approval to build a $15.5 billion coal mine and rail project in Queensland, extending a run of good fortune for its billionaire founder Gautam Adani. The approval is subject to Adani Mining Pty. Ltd fulfilling a string of “strict conditions" meant to protect the environment.

“After undertaking a thorough assessment and consideration under national environment law, I have approved the Carmichael coal mine and rail infrastructure project, subject to 36 strict conditions," said Greg Hunt, Australia’s minister for environment. “The absolute strictest of conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater," said Hunt in a statement.

He said it is estimated that the project will provide electricity for up to 100 million people in India.

The Carmichael project in the untapped Galilee Basin, designed to produce 60 million tonnes a year of thermal coal used in power stations, has been opposed by environmental groups, which object to new coal mines as well as the rail lines and ports needed to ship the coal. The Australian approval was another victory for the $9.2 billion Adani group, whose founder is believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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