Australian news, and some related international items

Axe over controversial Shenhua coal mine in New England

China’s fossil fuel transformation places axe over controversial Shenhua coal mine in New England, The Age, March 29, 2016  Political reporter  China Shenhua, which owns the contentious Shenhua-Watermark project on the NSW Liverpool Plains, has warned of plunging demand for fossil fuels and slashed its global budget for investing in new coal projects.

The company has surprised analysts with the depth of its pessimism on the coal market in its annual report released on Good Friday.

The proposed mine at Gunnedah is now almost certainly “commercially unviable”, according to Tim Buckley, Australasian director of the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and it is only a question of whether the Chinese government proceeds to development in an attempt to “save face”, he said.

“I have no doubt the project doesn’t make any commercial sense unless the coal price doubles,” he said.

There is gathering speculation the Turnbull government is working on a political solution whereby the Baird Government would return Shenhua’s original $300 million exploration licence and allow the company to retreat with dignity……

NSW Greens’ mining and agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Mr Joyce should negotiate a “swift and fair exit” for Shenhua.

“Even the world’s biggest coal miner has recognised that there is no need for new coal and it’s up to Barnaby Joyce to create certainty for the farmers of the Liverpool Plains by negotiating an exit for Shenhua,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable for this coal mine proposal to hang over the Liverpool Plains, causing uncertainty and stress, and hindering investment in agriculture.”

The politically toxic proposed coal mine at the centre of the election battle between Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Tony Windsor appears doomed after its Chinese owner outlined an accelerated transformation plan away from mining into cleaner electricity generation.

March 30, 2016 - Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales

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