Technology could save mine billions, but GVK not interested
SAVVY business operators would typically jump at the chance to save billions of dollars in start-up costs, but that appears to not be the case with mining giant GVK Hancock Coal.
A Capella-based inventor has designed world-class technology which could transport coal from the new Alpha mega mine in the Galilee Basin 503km to the coast for a fraction of the cost.
Even better, it would have little impact on the surrounding landholders.
But GVK appears to not want to entertain the idea designed by Les Dunn.
Mr Dunn has designed a world-first overland conveyor system which could transport triple the quantity of coal from the mine for about $8.5 billion less than the proposed rail line to be constructed across farming and grazing land.
"The conveyor system will work out to be about $7.6 billion for the 503km distance," Mr Dunn said.
"It doesn't break up the coal, there's no disruption to the method, there is minimal coal dust and farmers can still use the land underneath the conveyor because it's not cutting off paddocks."
Mr Dunn raised the concept with GVK external affairs and strategy executive general manager Helen Stebhens at Friday's CHDC Business Breakfast, who was quick to respond the company preferred an overland rail system.
"I believe you have actually written a letter in to Mrs Rinehart," Ms Stebhens said in reply.
"Yes, we have a transportation route, to answer your question.
"We have at least 70% of our landholders signed up with contracts and all those landholders and graziers will still be doing the same business that they are doing now."
Mr Dunn's conveyor system is five metres from the ground at its lowest point and enables farmers to continue land use with minimal disruptions.
Innovative business coach Kris Trevilyan, of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation, said new mining developments offered local businesses the opportunity to change their practices and expand their operations, including Mr Dunn's conveyor technology.
Ms Trevilyan asked Ms Stebhens if the controversial rail line could be used for primary industries such as cattle transport, to which Ms Stebhens said the line would be designed, and used, for coal exports only.