Coal industry in fantasy land on new coal mines and social licence

MEDIA RELEASE – 4 March  2016

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today questioned the coal industry’s grasp on reality after Kepco Australia vice president Bill Vatovec told the Sydney Mining Club that it was a golden age to build a mine and requested industry support to overcome community opposition.

Mr Vatovec is reported as saying:

“This is a golden gas to build a mine. The risk is in the money we have spent but the opportunity for us is that we wouldn’t get a better climate to build a mine than now.”

“I question Mr Vatovec’s grasp on reality in make this statement given the global glut of coal, plummeting prices, the number of existing coal mines closing or being put up for sale, and global policies to mitigate climate change,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Action on climate change is urgent, the age of coal is over and NSW does not need any new coal mines, particularly mines in the pristine Bylong Valley with its valuable agricultural land and water resources.

“This is a cry for help from a company that admits it does not have a social licence from the community and is pleading with the industry to leverage its links with politicians to get its mine approved.

“A social licence matters as we have seen with other resource projects such as Metgasco and AGL’s coal seam gas proposals and Shenhua’s proposed mine on the Liverpool Plains. Kepco cannot buy a social license from the government or its mining mates.”

“If Kepco really wants an Australian coal mine, it should look to purchase an existing mine from Rio Tinto or others.  It is not the golden age for new coal mines, it is the end of coal.

“The Greens policy is for a ban on new coal mines and a strategy to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy that provides for regional economic development and employment.”

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