Trucks arrive with coal from New Hope Mine to Jondaryan station. Pictures: Jack Tran
Trucks arrive with coal from New Hope Mine to Jondaryan station. Pictures: Jack Tran

$100m worth of coal ‘up in smoke’

ABOUT $100 million in coal sales to Japan have been lost by Queensland and NSW mines because of red tape, delays in mining approvals and growing concern about issues like the Aurizon debacle.

New Hope Group chief executive Shane Stephan said Australia had missed out on about 1 million tonnes of coal sales to Japan's power stations.

"They are expanding their diversification into the US and taking more Russian coal. It's because of regulation delays for the development of new mines," Mr Stephan told a business lunch hosted by BDO and The Courier-Mail's Queensland Business Monthly magazine.

"That should be our market. We did meet with our coal customers (recently) and they are concerned about the signal the Aurizon issue sends.''

The mining industry is concerned by Aurizon’s move to reduce the number of coal trains accessing Queensland ports.
The mining industry is concerned by Aurizon’s move to reduce the number of coal trains accessing Queensland ports.

Aurizon maintains a Queensland Competition Authority draft decision has forced the changes by slashing the amount it can earn from the monopoly rail network.

The mining sector's concerns about Japan were highlighted in recent weeks when the country's steel mills wrote to the Palaszczuk Government telling it they were considering buying in other markets because of the Aurizon issue, which could cut about $4 billion worth of coal exports.

Mr Stephan also told the lunch that New Hope's New Acland expansion had been held up for years by legal action from landowners supported by green groups.

McCullough Robertson adviser Michael Roche said that Indian giant Tata had been turned off investing in the Adani coal project in Queensland because of the red tape and green activism.

Richard Cottee says uncertainty around rules and red tape is hurting Queensland’s mining industry.
Richard Cottee says uncertainty around rules and red tape is hurting Queensland’s mining industry.

Richard Cottee, who established the $70 billion Queensland coal seam gas sector, when he headed QGC said the industry which created 30,000 jobs at its peak would be impossible today because of the red and green tape that exists.

"That could not happen. The rules keep changing and the red tape increases,'' he said.

He said politicians had to be made aware that there were votes in supporting the resources sector because they sometimes only saw votes in backing environmental causes

"There are also the votes from behind the tofu curtain,'' he said in reference to the green vote.

APLNG chief executive Warwick King said his battle to promote the LNG exporter was in inner-city Brisbane and Melbourne, but stressed that he shared the same vision about renewables as many environmentalists do. It was just the time frame that was different.