Tanya Plibersek refuses to approve Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal mine
Tanya Plibersek plans to block a new coal mining project proposed by billionaire Clive Palmer.
The Environment Minister said she is likely to refuse approval for his Central Queensland Coal Project near Marlborough, just 10km from the Great Barrier Reef shoreline.
Ms Plibersek said the 3,000-hectare open coal mine cut open thermal and coking coal would pose ‘unacceptable’ risks to the environment.
Tanya Plibersek To Block New Coal Mining Project Proposed By Billionaire Clive Palmer
Ms Plibersek said the cut-open thermal and coking coal mine would pose ‘unacceptable’ risks to the environment. Pictured: The Great Barrier Reef
“Based on the information I have at this stage, I think the project is likely to have unacceptable consequences for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and National Heritage Place,” she said. said in a statement Thursday.
“The available evidence also suggests that the project is likely to have unacceptable impacts on water resources in the area.”
Last year, the Queensland government said the proposed mine — which would last 24 years — was unsuitable because it could damage the reef and nearby ecosystems that rely on groundwater.
Ms Plibersek will be seeking feedback on her draft decision over the next 10 days before she is likely to ban the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Mr Palmer, whose corporate Minerology owns Central Queensland Coal – and who spent $100 million to win more than one seat in parliament in the last election – has not yet commented on her draft decision.
The new Labor government has vowed to take better care of the environment than the Coalition and has passed a bill setting the House of Representatives target of 43 percent emissions reductions.
The Greens have supported the bill but are urging Labor to halt new coal and gas projects.
Mr Palmer, whose corporate mineralogy owns Central Queensland Coal, is yet to comment on the draft decision
It comes as Australia’s trade surplus hit a record $17.7 billion in June, helped by strong supplies of coal, iron ore and grain.
With prices soaring as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Australian coal exports reached $113 billion in the year to June, more than triple the previous year.
Gas exports more than doubled to $88 million and exports of rural goods, including meat and grain, reached $64 billion, up from $45 billion the year before.
The strong numbers are giving a significant boost to the federal budget, potentially halving the projected budget deficit for last year.
The monthly trade surplus rose from $15 billion in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday, beating expectations of a decline to $14 billion.
Exports rose $2.9 billion or 5.1 percent, while imports rose just $324 million or 0.7 percent.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said the figure marked Australia’s 54th monthly trade surplus.
It comes as Australia’s trade surplus hit a record $17.7 billion in June, helped by strong shipments of coal, iron ore, gas (pictured) and grain
“The revenues pouring into Australia are supporting Australian businesses at a pivotal time – a time when fears of a recession are being voiced worldwide,” he wrote in a note.
ANZ economists Madeline Dunk and David Plank said the strength of exports was driven by both price and volume, and the data pointed to a large contribution of net exports to gross domestic product from the second quarter.
But they added that the country’s surplus was likely approaching its peak and would begin to level off.
Australia’s largest buyer, China, is trying to reduce its dependence on coal imports and reduce its steel production.
James noted that Australian exports to China of $170.5 billion in the 12 months to June were well below the record $179.5 billion in the year to November 2021.
By contrast, Australian trade with India has soared, with exports up 108 percent over the year and imports up 63.5 percent.
“Exports to India are more important than the US and UK combined,” James said.
Iron ore exports rose 5.5 percent to $15.5 billion, with shipments to China, Vietnam and Taiwan soaring.
Gold exports rose 63.8 percent after rising 71 percent in May, increases only partly explained by high prices for the commodity.
Exports of rural goods, including meat and grain, reached $64 billion, up from $45 billion the year before
The ABS also noted that lithium exports hit a record $1.1 billion in June, a staggering 1189 percent more than a year ago.
Nearly all of Australia’s lithium is produced in WA and 94 percent of all exports this year went to China.
Lithium is an important component of rechargeable batteries used in the electric vehicle industry, as well as in consumer equipment and renewable energy storage.
Exports of the commodity are expected to continue rising, contributing $9.4 billion in revenue to the Australian economy by 2023/24, the ABS said.