Australian state shelves project to export coal to India
Melbourne: Australia's Victoria state has canned its plan to allow mining and export of coal to India, a media report said.
Three months after plans to allow Melbourne-based Exergen to launch a $1.5 billion coal export scheme were revealed, Energy Minister Peter Batchelor has now ruled it out, a national newspaper reported today.
Exergen wants to mine, dry and export 12 million tonnes of brown coal a year to be burned in Indian power stations.
The rethink over the project came after The Age in October revealed leaked cabinet documents showing that a priority allocation of coal for Exergen was "imminent" and that a tender had been proposed for next year to allocate an extra 13 billion tonnes of coal.
"The government has no plans to allocate coal to Exergen or to any other company outside of a competitive tender process," a spokesperson for Batchelor, Emma Tyner, was quoted as saying.
Tyner also said the government now had no "immediate" plan to open coalfields for tender next year.
The cabinet documents acknowledged that community concerns could be raised by the export of brown coal, a relatively "dirty" fuel that emits far more greenhouse emissions to generate power than most alternatives.
But the documents say exports can be justified on three grounds: Victoria cannot unilaterally limit global emissions, the coal products could help developing countries overcome poverty, and emissions may be even higher if countries are denied Victorian coal and use dirtier fuels.
Tyner said Victoria's coal was an increasingly valuable resource.
"Any future allocation strategy would need to consider the economic development opportunities and environmental impacts." (IANS)