CANBERRA, June 5 (Reuters) - Australia said on Tuesday it would delay granting environmental approval for a A$10 billion ($9.72 billion) coal project proposed by India's GVK Power & Infrastructure, a potential setback in the company's bid to tap voracious appetite for coal in its home market.
Environment Minister Tony Burke said GVK, a conglomerate with interests in airports, hotels and transportation as well as energy, must work with national authorities to secure approval for the project, vital to its coal ambitions.
The government of Queensland last month gave the go-ahead for GVK's Alpha project in a move that would normally trigger a 30-day deadline for approval from the national government, but Burke said the state process did not meet national standards.
"I am stopping the clock on the Alpha project," Burke told reporters. "We have no interest in a delayed process. But we are not willing to compromise environmental standards."
The scheme is the front-runner among several projects in the untapped Galilee Basin in Queensland, where rival Indian group Adani Enterprises is planning an A$10.9 billion coal and rail project.
Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Joseph Radford