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The carbon tax clock is now ticking on NSW mines

Posted: 10 October 2011

NSW MPs in Federal Parliament are being urged to rethink the carbon tax as new figures show it could force almost half of the State’s underground coalmines to shut down prematurely.

An independent report by ACIL Tasman on the impact of the tax has found that 12 of the 30 underground mines and three open cut mines in NSW face early closure. It has also found that 27% of future employment from new mining projects is under threat.

“This report tells us what have feared for some time – that NSW will be the State that is hit the hardest by the Federal Government’s proposed carbon tax,” Dr Williams said.

“We now know that 15 of our mines face premature closure. Investment and thousands of jobs for people planning to come into the industry will also be lost and the NSW economy stands to lose more than $12 billion in the first 10 years of the carbon tax.

“We’ve seen the impact that the closure of around half of the steel making facilities in Wollongong is having on the region. Shutting down half of the State’s underground coal mines will have a huge effect not just on the miners employed there but also on the hundreds of businesses that rely on the mines for their income.”

The report found that the Government’s Coal Sector package, which targets ‘gassy’ mines, will have a limited effect, simply delaying the closure of four mines for a year. To make matters worse, the package doesn’t help those mines that have higher cost structures and which will be made uneconomic by the carbon tax.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Dr Nikki Williams said there was still time to protect regional jobs and future investment in the State as the Federal Parliament prepares to vote on the legislation.

“The clock is ticking for the coal industry in NSW,” Dr Williams said.

“Addressing climate change shouldn’t come at the expense of hard working people in regional NSW and the Federal Government still has time to get it right. It must phase in any carbon pricing scheme at the same time as our competitors overseas.”




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