Globally, the coal mining industry is as important as ever and a vital player in improving the lives of billions – that was the message from Australia Peabody Energy President Charles Meintjes at last week’s Bowen Basin Mining Club (BBMC) luncheon in Mackay.
Mr Meintjes told Bowen Basin Mining Club members the coal industry has a vital role into the future but warned of other countries ‘eating our lunch’.
“Australian’s are passionately competitive,” he said.
“We need to draw on this quality if met coal and thermal coal are to remain globally competitive.
“It’s predicted global coal production will account for up to 40% of the world’s energy in 2020, it now fuels 30%,” said Mr Meintjes.
Mr Meintjes said some answers to being competitive lay in lowering Australia’s high labour costs (30%-50% greater than the US) and the high price of electricity.
“Australian’s pay the highest price for electricity in the first world,” he said
Mr Meintjes explained coal fired power generation has come a long way since the 1950s with modern coal fired power plants producing 80% fewer emissions than their 1970s counterparts.
“Comparing modern day coal-fired power technology to the past is like comparing a 1980’s diesel car to a 2014 model, they are both cars – but very different.”
“There are a range of emissions reduction technologies already in use as well as opportunities for Australia to explore and invest in new technology to further reduce emissions,” he said.
BBMC Director, Jodie Currie, says it welcome to hear positive leadership from a major coal producer like Peabody.
“Coal is one of Australia’s biggest exports and it’s here to stay,” said Ms Currie.