Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carbon tax? We're looking for coal as never before

A wave of confidence has pushed coal exploration to a record high as opposition leader Tony Abbott has told parliament the carbon tax will close mines.

Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday show a record $207.2 million was spent exploring for coal in the June quarter, head and shoulders above the previous high of $122 million set in the December quarter when Julia Gillard announced plans for the tax.

The record spending is more than double that of the previous June quarter when a decision by the Rudd government to delay an emissions trading scheme meant a carbon tax was not in prospect.

It reflects official forecasts for a 33 per cent lift in thermal coal prices in the year ahead and a 52 per cent lift in coking coal prices.

Mr Abbott told parliament the carbon tax would damage thermal coal mines in the Hunter Valley and close coking coal mines in northern Queensland....

The surge in exploration for coal helped drive total minerals exploration to a new record high of $907 million in the June quarter, up from $650 million three months before.

Spending on iron ore exploration jumped 49 per cent in the quarter to a new record high of $214.7 million. The number of metres drilled climbed from 2 million to 2.9 million, a new record high.

Published in today's SMH and Age

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