The Minerals Council of Australia has welcomed Federal Government support regarding the future of coal industry investment in Australia.
Executive director – coal Greg Evans said the industry strongly endorsed the view of the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan regarding the critical contribution Australian coal could make to Asian economic development and within Australia.
“Coal exports are performing strongly, with forecast exports expected to reach $40.6 billion in 2016-17, up more than $6 billion compared with 2015-16,” Mr Evans said.
“Recent state mid-year budget updates showed higher coal prices will deliver a royalty boost to the Queensland and New South Wales treasury coffers in excess of $1.5 billion in the current financial year alone.
“The medium and long-term outlook is strong. The International Energy Agency reiterated in its latest forecasts in 2016 that strong demand for coal in the pivotal economies of both India and South East Asia would continue.”
Mr Evans said Asia had embraced clean, efficient coal-fired generation with some 725 units in place, while a further 1150 installations were under construction or planned.
“This represents a new build which is 32 times our current coal capacity,” he said.
“Coal is showing it can compete strongly to deliver reliable energy into the future, and utilising the latest high efficiency low emission (HELE) generation technologies it can provide affordable, reliable electricity with low emissions – equivalent to gas.
“Minister Canavan is correct in identifying the contribution coal fired electricity can make in terms of human and economic advancement in Asia, there is no foreseeable energy source which can deliver at the same level of reliability and affordability.
“Renewables have a role in developing economies but they won’t able to underpin the required industry development to alleviate poverty and improve living standards.”
He was commenting on a report in The Australian newspaper that the federal government was backing coal industry expansion in the face of continuing legal challenges and lobbying based on environmental concerns.’
Mr Canavan told the paper it would be hypocritical to stop coal production or exports on the grounds that developing nations should not use fossil fuels to drive their economic growth.
The Australian highlighted predictions in an International Energy Agency report published last month that Australia would see a $104 billion investment in coal supply over the next 20 years due to demand in Asia.