With plummeting coal prices, some Australians are wondering if it's wise to invest in more mining.
With plummeting coal prices, some Australians are wondering if it's wise to invest in more mining. Lee Constable

Government says greener future does not mean end of coal

QUEENSLAND Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has backed the coal industry following an ABC Four Corners report suggesting the sector was doomed.

He admitted the State Government was focused on a cleaner, green future with a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and the International Energy Agency expects gas will become the first fuel globally over the next 25 years.

But at a Queensland Exploration Council breakfast on Tuesday Dr Lynham said IEA also predicted over that same period global coal demand would increase 15% and coal prices would rise.

Economist and former Liberal Party federal leader John Hewson told Four Corners many people legitimately did not believe Adani's $16 million Carmichael project in the Galilee Basin would go ahead.

With plummeting coal prices and Australia's biggest customers turning to renewable energy, Four Corners questioned whether Australia had backed a loser in the coal mining industry.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund chair Valerie Rockefeller Wayne told the program new big coal mine proposals no longer made financial sense.

The fund is aimed at advancing social change.

"You think of what's planned for the Galilee Basin and in my mind it's just heartbreaking," Ms Rockefeller Wayne told Four Corners.

She said she was baffled why the current Australian government was stuck in the past, backing coal, rather than looking to the future and renewable energy.

External affairs general manager Josh Euler from GVK, the company behind the Alpha coal project in central Queensland's Galilee Basin, described as misguided claims the end of coal was near.

He said the statements ignored that the most cost effective energy source was coal-fired power generation, which would continue to drive global demand for many decades to come.

"It is also incorrect to assume high production costs in the Galilee Basin, as the unique geological features of our Alpha coal project ensures that it will be one of the lowest cost coal producing operations feeding into the Asian seaborne market," he said.

Dr Lynham also announced the government was establishing a resources roundtable comprised of resource industry experts and peak body representatives to advise the government on resource policy development and implementation.