Mining and industry groups in Australia have come out in defence of coal saying that it makes modern life around the world possible.
The Queensland Resources Council and Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) have come out strongly against a move in the Australian Senate to ban all coal mining in the Queensland Galilee Basin.
Reporting on this the website Mining Business News (MBN) said coal helps to make 70% of the world’s steel, provides 41% of global electricity and by 2020 will help to charge more than 20 million electric vehicles.
The mining lobby groups said access to coal is key to the hopes of many Asian countries to emerge from energy poverty.
“Without Australia’s top-quality coal, the industry leaders warn, those Asian countries will have to source lower-quality coal from other suppliers,” MBN said.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook report last year showed coal will remain the single largest source of electricity through to 2040, with demand driven by significant population growth across most Asian regions, industrialisation and urbanisation and the move away from nuclear power in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Australian thermal coal is highly sought in these markets because of its high calorific value. The IEA sees coal demand in India and South-East more than doubling by 2040, presenting significant opportunities for Australian coal given the proximity to the growth markets.
In a separate report prepared for the MCA last year it was reported that Asian thermal coal import demand is expected to grow from 740 million tonnes in 2017 to 1,147 Mt in 2030.
Growth in demand will come from the emerging markets in India and SE Asia as well as the established markets in China, South Korea and Japan.
The lobbies said Australian coal has powered industrialisation of Japan, Korea and China, directly helping to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
Australia’s global competitiveness as a destination for mining investment is already under threat, and MCA chief executive Tania Constable said the Greens’ proposed Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) legislation would further damage its investment attractiveness and create significant sovereign risk.
The prime target of the Greens move is Adani Coal’s proposed Carmichael mine, but QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said it was just one of six major coal projects in the Galilee Basin that could deliver over 18,000 construction jobs and perhaps $A1 billion in annual royalty taxes to the Queensland Government.
Mining Business said while it’s no surprise that the Greens continue their campaign that seeks to outlaw coal, the pressure must intensify on the more responsible government and opposition parties to reject the move.