Archive for the ‘GOVERNMENTS’ Category

Adani Carmichael: Australia’s largest coal mine free to proceed after Greg Hunt gives approval

Friday, October 16th, 2015

The nation’s largest coal mine has passed a significant hurdle after Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved it with “the strictest conditions in Australian history”, in a decision environment groups have declared “a disaster”.

Mr Hunt on Thursday said the Carmichael coal mine proposed by Indian mining giant Adani has been given the green light after the Federal Court in August set aside the previous approval.

Abbot Point coal terminal image

The project, which will produce up to 60 million tonnes of coal for export a year, has faced staunch opposition because its Abbot Point terminals are located close to the Great Barrier Reef.

Opponents have already flagged an intention to launch a legal challenge to the latest approval.

The government decision clears a regulatory hurdle, yet there are still questions over how the $16 billion project will be financed. National Australia Bank has said it will not fund the mine and other banks are being pressured to follow suit.

The approval will require $1 million funding for research programs to improve conservation of threatened species over 10 years, and strict groundwater monitoring and action triggers would protect Doongmabulla Springs, Mr Hunt said.

The Department of the Environment will monitor the mine and Adani must provide a groundwater management and monitoring plan.

Federal Labor resources spokesman Gary Gray welcomed the decision and said the project was of “great importance to Queensland and to Australia”.

Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull image

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced on Thursday the mine would proceed. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The project still requires federal dredging approval and some state-based approvals.

The Mackay Conservation Group launched its Federal Court challenge in January, alleging greenhouse gas emissions from the mine, vulnerable species and Adani’s environmental track record had not been taken into account.

Mr Hunt said the court set aside the mine’s earlier approval at the request of the government.


The case prompted the government to propose new laws that would prevent “vigilante” environment groups from challenging large developments in court.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Ellen Roberts said the approval “risks threatened species, precious ground water, the global climate and taxpayers’ money”.

“[Mr] Hunt is sacrificing threatened species … and precious ground water resources for the sake of a mine that simply does not stack up economically,” Ms Roberts said, adding the black throated finch would probably be pushed to extinction.

Equipment at the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland image

Equipment at the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland. Photo: Glenn Hunt

She said the conditions set by Mr Hunt did not adequately deal with the serious implications of the mine, which “can’t be offset”.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Shani Tager said the mine would be “a complete disaster for the climate and the Great Barrier Reef”.”This project means more dredging in the Great Barrier Reef, more ships through its waters and more carbon emissions,” she said.

Adani welcomed the decision, saying the initial legal hurdle was a “technicality” prompted by a mistake by the Department of the Environment. In a statement, the company said it was always “confident in the soundness of the broader approvals, that the species involved had been protected by conditions, and that the technical error would be promptly rectified”. “Today’s announcement … makes clear that these concerns have been addressed, reflected in rigorous and painstaking conditions,” it said. The company intended to deliver mine, rail and port projects in Queensland creating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to be reinvested into community services, Adani said. The jobs figure has been disputed.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott with mining magnate Gautum Adani image

Former prime minister Tony Abbott with mining magnate Gautum Adani. Photo: Andrew Meares

Lobby group GetUp! on Thursday said its members had already helped fund legal action against the mine, and the organisation was “exploring the legal opportunities available to us” in light of the latest decision.

“This coal mine is the dumbest, most dangerous and uneconomic development in Australia,” senior campaigner Sam Regester said.

“We are calling on GetUp! members and the community to stand up and fight this mine again. We’ve beaten it before and we can beat it again.”


Henry Sapiecha



Monday, January 14th, 2013


One of Australia’s most renowned and influential economists has been forced to resign as chairman of Papua New Guinea’s most profitable mining concern after PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill banned him from entering the country.

The Australian
reports O’Neill declared in parliament two months ago that Professor Garnaut was prohibited from entering Papua New Guinea until mining giant BHP “surrenders control of PNG Sustainable Development Program to the government and people of PNG.”

In his resignation letter Professor Garnaut lamented the PNG government;s use of immigration powers to “[force] changes in the board of a major private company.”

At the time of his barring from PNG Garnaut had just resigned from the position of chairman of PNGSDP, the vehicle through which BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) exerts control of the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine, yet retained his position as chairman of Ok Tedi itself.

The Ok Tedi gold and copper mine has an annual output worth around AUD$4.5 billion and is Papua New Guinea’s biggest earning company, yet operation has been severely hampered in the past by environmental controversies.

PNGSDP holds a 63.3% equity stake in the mine, with the remainder in the hands of PNG’s federal and provincial governments.

While BHP recently loosened its control of the company, ceding appointment of PNGSDP directors to the board of the company itself, the diversified mining giant remains responsible for determining the core terms of reference for the mine’s operation.

Ex-prime minister Mekere Morauta succeeded Professor Garnaut as chairman of Ok Tedi on the weekend, after replacing him as chairman of PNGSDP in November

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Finland to pass new mining law

on Tuesday; miners critical of it.

Miners are worried that the new mining law, which is expected to be passed by Finland’s parliament on Tuesday could increase bureaucracy and compensation to landowners which may make future ops more difficult

Author: Terhi Kinnunen (Reuters)
Posted:  Monday , 14 Mar 2011

HELSINKI (Reuters)

Finland’s parliament is expected to pass a new mining law on Tuesday that miners fear will increase bureaucracy and compensation to landowners, making future operations more difficult.

Updating a law from the 1960’s, it is seen coming into force on July 1.

The government says the new law promotes mining but also takes into account environmental issues, citizens’ and landowners’ rights and gives municipalities more potential to influence decision-making on mining projects.

Supervision of mining issues will move to the Safety Technology Authority, Tukes, from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

“The compensation fees will be higher than in Sweden,” Olavi Paatsola, executive director of Finnish mining industry association FinnMin, told Reuters.

“The harsh bureaucracy is to be introduced to the ore prospecting stage, which in our opinion is unnecessary, because prospecting work has a minimal impact on nature.”

Environmentalists say the reform is good for nature, although it is not perfect.

“The reform is a clear improvement to the current situation. Firstly, it will take into account environmental points, and secondly it will secure citizens’ rights,” said Leo Stranius, secretary general for the Finnish Nature League.

He added the Finnish Nature League had demanded the law would prohibit ore prospecting in nature reserves and that uranium would not be included in the mining law.

The reform to the mining law began in 2005, but the process has been slow due to its thoroughness. The parliament is expected to give the green light to the new law at the current parliament’s last session. Finland will hold general elections on April 17.

The new law requires a final approval from President Tarja Halonen.


Finland’s location in the middle of the Fennoscandian Shield gives it an excellent potential for a variety of minerals such as nickel, gold and chrome. Its geology is similar to that of areas of Canada and Australia, both big mining countries.

Currently there are nine metallic ore mines operating in Finland, and five of them are gold mines.

In addition three mines — two gold mines and one mine producing nickel, copper and palladium — are being built.

The mining sector in 2010 amounted to only 0.4 percent of Finland’s gross domestic product (GDP).

One of the biggest mines is Talvivaara (TLV1V.HE: Quote), which produces nickel, zinc and copper. It delivers nickel and cobalt to Norilsk Nickel GNKN.MM refinery in Harjavalta and zinc to Nyrstar (NYR.BR: Quote).

Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE: Quote) owns Europe’s only chromium mine in Kemi with current annual production of about 1.3 million tons of ore. The mine produces chromite concentrates for its ferrochrome smelter in Tornio, some 35 kilometres (22 miles) away.

“If I look at this law from the perspective of the industry, it has been an awful project,” Antti Pihko, chief of the Kemi mine told Finnish daily Kauppalehti.

“After this, international companies will prefer to go to Sweden where fees are only a tenth compared to Finland and where production can be started much faster,” he was quoted as saying.

(Editing by Jane Baird)

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Venezuela faces logistical,

security nightmare

getting back 17,000 gold bars


While Venezuela President Hugo Chavez may have little to gain from seizing the half he did not already own of the only private gold miner left in the country, bringing home the 211 tonnes of gold reserves, worth $12.3 billion, held overseas, is a different story altogether.

CTV news reports bullion traders are preparing for one of the largest transfers of physical gold in recent history – about 17,000 standard 400-ounce bars – from Europe back to the South American state. While billions of dollars worth of gold is traded every day, only a tiny proportion of it moves from vaults in London, New York and Zurich.

CTV News quotes a precious metals strategist at investment bank UBS: “There is a growing preference among many different communities in the gold market to have their physical gold at home.”

Reuters Breaking Views blog asks whether Chavez is ahead of the investment curve and says following the Chavez playbook is rarely a good idea, but in this case investors might be wise to take an asset transfer cue from him.

El Universal quotes Rafael Ramírez, Venezuela’s Minister of Energy and Petroleum: “Anyone who knows the southern part of the country, (particularly) the mining area of Guayana, realizes that gold has been in the hands of multinational companies that operate in different ways to perform covert and illegal activities.”

The paper also quotes Russian-Canadian miner Rusoro Mining Ltd., the only private gold miner left in the country, as saying it continues to produce gold from two projects and was developing two other projects in Venezuela. It also said that it has received no indications from the government about a change in the operations of the company.

According to Bloomberg News, Venezuela produces 11 metric tonnes of gold each year, compared to global production of more than 2,400 tonnes and China’s production of more than 300 tonnes.

The Washington Post reports about $6.5 billion in non-gold international reserves such as bank deposits and bonds will also be “spread out” to diversify Venezuela’s assets.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Booming WA economy

sends surplus soaring

through the $1bn mark

March 1, 2011
WA mining towns have become the place to buy property ... again.WA’s mining boom is raking in the money for the state government.

Western Australia’s burgeoning mining royalties have continued to strengthen the state’s economy, with the government sector recording a $1.1 billion surplus for the first half of the financial year.

The operating surplus of $1.1 billion for the first six months of 2010/11 is a huge turnaround from the $259 million operating deficit for the first half of 2009/10.

Treasurer Christian Porter said the WA Quarterly Financial Results report showed the state reaped nearly $12.3 billion worth of revenue for the first half of 2010/11.

That is up by $2.1 billion on the same period last financial year.

“The main driver of this increase was a rise of $964 million in mining royalties, partly due to the state government’s successful negotiations to remove the royalty concession on iron ore production,” Mr Porter said.

Increased taxes added an extra $509 million to revenue as well as the one-off payment of $350 million by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto resulting from changes to the State Agreement Acts.

The report revealed that the property and retail sectors remained subdued in the first half of 2010/11, resulting in lower stamp and other transfer duties, which were down $89 million.

General government sector expenditure was also up $761 million, blowing out by 7.3 per cent because of higher grants spending and the government’s one-off payroll tax rebate.

However, Mr Porter said the December result showed that public sector salaries grew by only 4.9 per cent and reflected the government’s effort to rein in spending.

Public sector net debt also rose by $446 million in the first six months of 2010/11, in line with planned spending on major infrastructure.

Spending on public infrastructure was up $338 million from the same period in 2009/10 due to construction on the Southern Seawater desalination plant, Fiona Stanley Hospital and other health infrastructure projects.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Mining firms spent more

than $20 million in Australia

to bury Rudd’s tax

February 1, 2011 – 2:21PM

Mining companies spent more than $20 million to sink a tax on profits, and Kevin Rudd’s Labor leadership in the process.

New figures released by the Australian Electoral Commission show the Minerals Council of Australia spent $17 million, BHP Billiton more than $4 million and Rio Tinto more than $537,000 in their battle against the Rudd government’s resource super profits tax.

The government wanted to impose a 40 per cent tax on the so-called “super profits” of the country’s mining companies. But Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who ousted Mr Rudd as the tax debate entered a stalemate, negotiated with the biggest companies for a 30 per cent mineral resources rent tax applying to coal and iron ore only.

However some miners still refuse to accept the tax.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the miners had waged a misleading campaign.

“We know in the lead-up to the last election there was a considerable amount of advertising done against the government, much of it very misleading,” he said.

The Australian Electoral Commission figures also showed the Liberal Party continued to benefit from large donations from tobacco companies and the hotels and gaming industry spent big on both major parties.

But trade unions remained Labor’s key financial backers. The Australian Workers Union and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association each gave $200,000 to the ALP’s federal branch, which received $7.75 million in total over the 2009/10 financial year.

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy was the largest individual donor to the federal Liberals, contributing $500,000 out of a total $6.3 million.

Across all states the Liberals received $41.22 million, compared with Labor’s $36.22 million.

Tobacco companies Philip Morris and British American Tobacco gave donations totalling just over $300,000 to the Liberal and National parties, while Labor and the Greens have banned such donations.

NAB and ANZ bank donated $100,000 each to Labor and the Liberals.

The nation’s 60 political parties received $89.5 million over the financial year – down from $98 million the previous year.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha