Joshua Robertson reports in The Guardian (18.5.17) that the Palaszczuk Government is considering offering Indian mining company Adani a "royalties holiday" worth hundreds of millions of dollars for its massive Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland's Galilee Basin.
'The Queensland government has reportedly offered Adani a royalties pause worth up to $320m as the company decides whether to proceed with its Carmichael mine project.
'The deal, in which Adani would pay a discounted $2m a year on exported coal in the mine’s early years, could be signed this week and has concerned some senior Labor figures, the ABC has reported. Guardian Australia understands the balance of the deferred royalties would become due in later years.
'The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, whose government in its last election campaign vowed not to back Adani’s rail or port project with taxpayer funds, would not confirm or deny the deal, the ABC said. But Palaszczuk, who along with the treasurer, Curtis Pitt, in negotiations reportedly rebuffed a bid by Adani to pay no royalties in the mine’s early phase, said the project was “vital for regional jobs”.
'It comes after a former climate change adviser to the federal government said risks inherent in Australia’s largest proposed coalmine meant Adani could shelve its plans. Prof Will Steffen of the Climate Council, which declares coal from the planned Carmichael mine “unburnable” in a new report canvassing environmental, economic and health factors around the project, said the odds against it would only rise over time.'
Carmichael coal mine a 'risky business'
The Climate Council has released a new report into the human, environmental and economic risks associated with the proposed Adani Carmichael mine in central Queensland. The report's authors give an overview of their findings in The Conversation (19.5.17):
'Despite the overwhelming evidence that fossil fuels are killing the Great Barrier Reef and making many extreme weather events worse; despite the emphatic thumbs-down from the finance sector; and despite the growing awareness of the serious health impacts of coal, the proposed Carmichael coal mine staggers on, zombie-like, amid reports it has been offered a deferment of A$320 million in royalty payments.
'A new Climate Council report, Risky Business: Health, Climate and Economic Risks of the Carmichael Coalmine, makes an emphatic case against development of the proposed mine, or of any other coal deposits in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, or indeed elsewhere around the world.
'Burning coal is a major contributor to climate change. Australia is already reeling from the escalating impacts of a warming climate. Heatwaves and other extreme weather events are worsening. The Great Barrier Reef has suffered consecutive mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Climate change is likely making drought conditions worse in the agricultural belts of southwest and southeast Australia. Our coastal regions are increasingly exposed to erosion and flooding as sea level rises.
'If we are to slow these disturbing trends and stabilise the climate at a level with which we might be able to cope, only a relatively small amount of the world’s remaining coal, oil and gas reserves can actually be used. The majority must be left unburned in the ground, without developing vast new coal deposits such as those in the Galilee Basin.'