New rules that ban coal mining in Central Queensland would bring great uncertainty to the state’s economy, a mining executive has warned.
Adani Mining chief executive Lucas Dow said at a March 4 public hearing it would be economically dangerous for Queensland to pass a retrospective bill that bans coal mining in the Galilee Basin.
“This bill would create enormous regulatory uncertainty and sovereign risk for Queensland, which would extend well beyond simply the Galilee Basin,” he said. “It would have far-reaching impacts, and there would clearly be a legal recourse for what has already been spent and for future profits.”
The proponent behind the $21 billion Carmichael Coal Project is threatening to sue the State Government for $1.4 billion plus future profits and other payments to third parties, if new legislation that bans coal mining takes effect.
State Greens MP Michael Berkman introduced the retrospective bill, which aims to cancel existing mine leases and permanently ban coal mining in the basin, so Australia can meet its targets under the Paris Agreement with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian McFarlane backed Adani, saying the State Government cannot afford to ban coal mining.
“Without the mining royalty payouts, the Queensland Government would be in the red to the tune of $4.6 billion,” he told the Australian Associated Press.
Berkman admits the seaborne thermal coal market would jump 30 per cent if the entire basin is mined.
“That’s going to drive down prices, that’s going to increase the uptake of coal, and it’s going to mean that we completely blow our Paris targets,” he told the ABC. “That’s really what this is about. No amount of solar power, no amount of renewable energy of any type, can prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change if we dig up this volume of coal.”