Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mining. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 March 2020

A reminder that the NSW Nationals do not have the best interests of Northern Rivers communities at heart


This was the NSW Nationals Member of the Legislative Council Ben Franklin (left) on the subject of a particular fossil fuel whose by-products, flaring and fugitive emissions contribute to Australia's rising greenhouse gas emissions and poor water security...... 

Echo Net Daily, 21 February 2020:

A recently announced bilateral energy deal between the NSW and federal coalition governments – which includes expanding the gas industry – has the full support of local Nationals MLC Ben Franklin.
Franklin replied to the question of whether he was supportive of the expansion of the gas industry, despite it contributing to anthropogenic climate change.
He said, ‘The bilateral deal on energy signed between NSW and the federal government is a wonderful step forward’.
‘As the minister for energy and the environment Matt Kean says, “It is the single biggest state-based financial commitment to emissions reduction in the nation’s history and represents a massive Green deal for NSW”.’
It’s a statement rejected by The Greens and environmental groups.....
* Photograph from www.parliament.nsw.gov.au


Thursday, 5 December 2019

Queensland Government gives Adani Group an early Christmas present worth up to $900 million in royalty deferrals


INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY ECONOMICS AND FINANCIAL ANALYSIS (IEEFA):

29 November 2019 (IEEFA Australia) – Queensland Treasury are expected to sign off on a massive early Christmas present worth up to $900m packaged as a seven-year royalty deferral – another term for a capital subsidy – for the Adani Group on 30 November 2019 (likely to be announced on 29 November), ironically on the one-year anniversary of Adani declaring it will self-fund its Carmichael thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin, Queensland.
Adani Australia – part of the Adani Group of India – announced the Carmichael thermal coal mine would ‘stand on its own two feet’, without any subsidies, in November 2018.
One year later and the Adani Group is not only expected to receive a $900m royalty present from the Queensland government, but the Adani Group is also set to receive over $4.4 billion in total tax exemptions, deferrals and capital subsidies from taxpayers for the life of the Carmichael mine.
“If you give enough subsidies, anything becomes viable.”
“If you give enough subsidies, anything becomes viable,” says Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).
“Global and domestic banks and insurers have turned their back on financing the Adani Group, joining the massive global financial exit away from thermal coal. To-date, 111 globally significant banks and insurers have implemented formal thermal coal restriction policies, including the latest just this week, being UniCredit, the largest bank in Italy.
“Yet the Queensland government still wants to give an early $900m Christmas present to the Adani Group for a product that faces technological obsolescence, is reliant on ongoing subsidies, and is only viable absent a price on carbon emissions.”
Under existing arrangements, Adani will effectively receive 17% of their coal for free compared to the royalty regime applying in NSW, according to The Australia Institute.
Any deal should be publicly transparent given rising stranded asset risks
“Queensland’s generosity in providing such a lavish gift to India’s richest man means local Queenslanders will NOT see royalties from Adani’s Carmichael thermal coal mine for a decade,” says Buckley. “Any deal should be made transparent to the public, and credible financial assurance needs to be put in place as a minimum to ensure eventual payment, given rising stranded asset risks....

Read the full article here.

BACKGROUND

ABC News, 14 March 2017:

Up to $3 billion from Adani's planned Carmichael coal mine will be shifted to a subsidiary owned in the Cayman Islands if the controversial project goes ahead, an analysis of company filings shows.

Key points:

  • 'Royalty deed' gives shell company rights to recieve $2-a-tonne payment beyond first 400K tonnes mined for two decades
  • Entitlement owned by company registered in Cayman Islands, controlled by Adani family
  • Carmichael coal mine's production capacity means payment ammounts to about $120 million per year
An "overarching royalty deed" gives a shell company rights to receive a $2-a-tonne payment, rising yearly by the inflation rate, beyond the first 400,000 tonnes mined in each production year for two decades.
The company with this entitlement is ultimately owned by Atulya Resources Limited, a secretive entity registered in the Cayman Islands, and controlled by the Adani family.
"In plain English, the upshot for the Adani family is [that] if the mine goes ahead, they receive a $2-a-tonne payment, so up to $3 billion, via a Cayman Islands company, a company owned in a tax haven," says Adam Walters, principal researcher and Energy Resource Insights.
With a production capacity of 60 million tonnes or more a year, that amounts to about $120 million per annum in payments, increasing each year in line with the CPI, potentially flowing offshore.
"I would describe it as a structure that means that the Adani family enriches themselves if the mine goes ahead but that other shareholders are impoverished," associate professor Thomas Clarke, director of the Centre for Corporate Governance at UTS told the ABC.
"The worry is that this may be just the beginning.
"That the Adani family have the ability to shift cash and assets around at will and in the future they may well do so at the cost of shareholders and the Queensland economy."
He said the billions flowing to the Adani private company would come at the expense of minority shareholders in the company listed on the Bombay stock exchange which ultimately owns the Carmichael mine.....
Read the full article here.
ABC News, 21 December 2016:

Giant Indian conglomerate Adani, which plans to build one of the world's largest coal mines in Queensland's Galilee Basin, has set up a complex network of companies and trusts in Australia which are owned in one of the world's major tax havens, the Cayman Islands.

The Adani Group is also attempting to shift ownership of the existing Abbot Point coal port — which it bought for $1.8 billion — to a Singaporean company ultimately owned in the Cayman Islands.

An exhaustive search of company filings and documents across the globe has cast light on this opaque structure of ownership and control.

It has alarmed environmental activists and legal experts, who fear it could make it harder to gain compensation from Adani in the event of an environmental disaster from Adani's planned mine and port expansion on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

"I've been a businessman for most of my life, as well as an environmental activist, and the risks are great," said Geoff Cousins, former Optus CEO and chairman of the George Paterson advertising agency, now a board member of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

"With these kinds of approvals of big mining operations or port operations, you always get a set of conditions that the Government puts on.

"But those conditions aren't worth anything if, when something goes wrong, you try to find the company responsible and either it has no money or if it has money it's in a tax haven and you can't reach it."

It is a view echoed by David Chaikin, a professor of business law at the University of Sydney.

"The advantage of having the money in tax havens is that you are able to conceal the source of money, the use of money, and also to minimise tax," he said…..

Adani has created four companies and two trusts in Australia for the rail project.

The parent company for all these entities is Carmichael Rail and Port Singapore Holdings Pte Ltd, a company registered in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is 15 per cent.

This Singapore parent company is in turn owned by Atulya Resources Limited, a private company controlled by the Adani family and based in the Cayman Islands.

The port expansion has a similar structure: five companies and two trusts in Australia, ultimately controlled by Atulya Resources in the Cayman Islands……

The Guardian, 29 August 2018:

Mining conglomerate the Adani Group is trying to prevent Indian authorities from accessing its business records as part of an investigation into an alleged $4bn fraud by power companies.
Lawyers for Adani on Tuesday filed a plea asking the Bombay high court to quash a formal request by Indian investigators to Singaporean authorities to force the company to produce information regarding its coal imports from Indonesia.
The request is part of an investigation by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) into a $4.4bn alleged fraud by 40 power companies including six Adani subsidiaries.
According to DRI documents, the companies allegedly used fake middlemen to inflate the price of coal they were importing from Indonesia. The scheme allowed the companies to charge higher tariffs by exaggerating their production costs, the DRI claimed.
If true, the alleged scam would also have allowed the companies to siphon billions of dollars from India into offshore bank accounts where Indian authorities would struggle to tax or account for the money....

Friday, 8 November 2019

Clarence Catchment Alliance is hosting a petition opposing water diversion from Clarence River catchment & mining in the upper river


The Daily Examiner, 31 October 2019, p. 9:

In 2017 I solo kayaked the Clarence River from its source near Stanthorpe in the Great Dividing Range to where it empties into the sea of my lifelong home at Yamba. A couple of months ago I tried to do it again, and I couldn’t. It won’t surprise you to hear, that there’s just no water in the river.
Around the same time I learned there were 18 exploratory mining licences active in our headwaters and that drilling quietly begun some 18 months ago.
I also learned that there was at least one serious environmental breach of one of these licences, resulting in a stop work order and a $300,000 fine.
I also learned that talks of damming our headwaters had been revived by western municipalities. When I heard these things, I wanted to find out more.
I caught up with my childhood friend and lifelong valley local, ex world championship tour surfer turned high-performance coach and Patagonia ambassador Daniel Ross, and together we set out to learn more about these potential threats to our home.
We went on a journey upriver to the source of the Clarence, all around the proposed mining areas, speaking to indigenous Elders and locals all along the river, to see these issues through their eyes.
We learned of the fish kills associated with mining from the old copper mine at Cangai, how the Eastern Cod (which only exists in two places in the world - the Clarence and Richmond River catchments) was nearly completely wiped out by these practices. We learned how it was nursed back from the brink to enjoying a thriving population today, and we struggled to understand why consideration would be given to returning to these practices on an even broader scale. We perceived first-hand the proximity of these sites, on these incredibly steep ridge lines, angling down to the river and its tributaries, and failed to comprehend how mining could possibly be achieved safely.
The more we learn, the keener we are to understand the future plans for our valley, and the safest and best solutions for its strategic management so its splendours can be enjoyed for generations to come.
We are strongly of the heart that the risks from mining along the Clarence, the lifeblood of our valley, are too impossibly high to take, and that these risks cannot fit the profile of a healthy future.
If you agree, the Clarence Catchment Alliance is hosting a petition that our State MP Chris Gulaptis has said he will table in parliament if 10,000 signatures are garnered. The petition is available to sign in local businesses all across the Valley, or available online to download, print, sign, and return to the address on the petition.
Dan Ross and Hayley Talbot
Image: Clarence Valley Independent

Clarence Independent
, 25 September 2019:
Dan Ross and Hayley Talbot are amid producing a documentary about the Clarence River – towards that end they have already interviewed Toowoomba’s mayor, Paul Antonio, who is also the chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors, which has applied to Infrastructure Australia to pipe water from the Clarence River “to Tenterfield Shire Council and Southern Downs, Western Downs and Toowoomba Regional councils”. Mr Ross and Ms Talbot gave a talk about the significance of Clarence River, maintaining its health and “how it affects all of us from the headwaters to the mouth”. “It’s not a ‘green’ thing, it’s commonsense,” Ms Talbot told those gathered at the Valley Watch tent at the Yamba River Market on Sunday, “sharing knowledge and getting the message out there.” 
Clarence Catchment Alliance’s Facebook page at  

Sunday, 27 October 2019

This is the Singleton Argus article that either the NSW Deputy-Premier or his office alleges is "seditious"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'the offence [sedition] is one if the person urges by force or violence the overthrowing of a government, or interfering with an election, or encouraging other people to use – or groups of people – to use force or violence against other groups' [The Attorney-General, Hon Philip Ruddock MP, Alan Jones Radio Programme, 14 November 2005, quoted in Australian Parliamentary Library, "In Good Faith:Sedition Law in Australia", 23 August 2010]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It appears that NSW Deputy-Premier, Minister for Regional New South Wales, Industry and Trade & Liberal MP for Monaro, John Barilaro, is unhappy with journalists having an opinion about the mining industry, state government agencies or the region in which they live and work......



There were two articles published online by The Singleton Argus on 22 October 2019 which dealt with the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption's current review of lobbying activities, access and influence in this state.

The first was a local news article and the second an opinion piece by the same journalist on the same subject.

It was this second piece which is the allegedly "seditious" item that either the Deputy-Premier or his staff apparently decided included content intended to incite violence, public disorder or a public offence:
"Here we go again - the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is hearing evidence about mining approvals - what, haven't we learnt our lessons from the Doyles Creek and Mt Penny inquiries all those years ago?
This time ICAC's Operation Eclipse is not investigating actual corrupt conduct by individuals but rather it is seeking' to examine particular aspects of lobbying activities and the corruption risks involved in the lobbying of public authorities and officials.'
At the same time as ICAC is seeking information about the influence of lobbying on government decision making Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced the terms of reference for the review into the operations of the Independent Planning Commission.
Included in the terms of reference is a question about whether the IPC should exist at all.
Scary when one considers that the former ICAC commissioner David Ipp, QC was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald saying such a move was 'a recipe for corruption'.
The more things change the more they stay the same it would appear when it comes to planning state significant mining projects in NSW.
As an invited witness to this week's Operation Eclipse hearings NSW Minerals Council, chief executive officer Stephen Galilee voiced his strong opinions about the current state of mine approvals in NSW.
He is not happy that Bylong Coal Project was refused, that Dartbrook Underground was only half approved and that United Wambo and Rix's Creek were approved but it took too long so he was still very unhappy.
Mr Galilee is welcome is hold these opinions he works to promote mineral extraction in NSW but his opinions should not over ride due process.
We have seen what happens when mining licences are granted behind closed doors, people made millions often corruptly and the community is treated poorly or not considered at all.
No way should we go back to the bad old days in mine approvals.
We should be planning for our future where we have clean air to breath and new industries for our current mining workforce.
Instead of wasting time and money on the IPC review lets get started with planning for a just transition for our region.
The longer we put off the inevitable transition the harder it will hit our region - want to be part of that Mr Galilee?"

For the life of me I cannot see this as a journalistic call for citizens to man the barricades armed to the teeth and ready to do violence.

Perhaps in the future whichever of the Deputy-Premier's minions crafted that particular email should pause, open a dictionary and a copy of the Crimes Act before choosing his adjectives.

Then when he next rushes to the defence of his minister's 'mates' he won't rashly accuse a journalist of a grave unlawful act.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'as long as the various sedition offences remain, governments will inevitably be tempted to use them improperly, especially when highly unpopular opinions are expressed' [Sydney Law Review,  (1992) Maher, L.W.,"The Use and Abuse of Sedition"]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, 24 October 2019

NSW Liberal-Nationals Government to forbid planning agencies to consider potential impacts of climate change


Nature Conservation Council of NSW, media release, 22 October 2019: 

Planning changes deny our biggest challenge – climate change
The Nature Conservation Council condemns the NSW Government’s plans to forbid planning authorities considering the full climate impacts of coal mines and gas projects.
“The government is effectively banning planning bodies from considering the biggest environmental challenge of our age,” NCC Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 
“The state government has cravenly capitulated to pressure from the Minerals Council, raising serious questions about who controls planning policy in NSW.
“Minister Rob Stokes announced a review into the Independent Planning Commission just days ago and has already undermined it with proposed legislation.
“For the past 12 years NSW has had a planning policy to consider the climate damage of coal produced in this state. 
“It is reckless and irresponsible to gut this policy when dangerous climate change is on our doorstep with fish kills and more extreme heatwaves and bushfires every summer.
“Courts and planning authorities have been trying to deal with climate change because the government has utterly failed. 
“Now the government is tying planning authorities’ hands and undermine the science-based, responsible decision making the people of NSW want.
“No wonder people are marching in the streets for urgent action on climate.” [my yellow highlighting]

Lock the Gate Alliance, 22 October 2019:

Berejiklian back down: NSW Government capitulates to coal lobby
A NSW Government proposal to prevent the Independent Planning Commission from considering downstream climate emissions when assessing mining projects is a terrible mistake that will be remembered by future generations, according to Lock the Gate Alliance. 

It is being reported the government will move to restrict the IPC from considering the effects of "scope 3" greenhouse gas pollution when considering coal mining projects, with new laws to be introduced to parliament this week.

Scope 3 emissions are the greenhouse emissions produced when coal is burned at its final destination. 

Lock the Gate NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said the legislation would be remembered by future generations as a shameless capitulation to the coal lobby that would harm communities in NSW.

“The government is capitulating to mining industry pressure and winding back laws to address the most important strategic, economic and environmental challenge of our century," she said.

“This is a regressive and fatal mistake that will be remembered for generations.

"New South Wales is right now experiencing a severe and unprecedented bushfire season and one of the worst droughts on record due to climate change. There is so little time left to prevent the problem escalating beyond our control. 

“The public expects all responsible agencies to use the powers available to them to act to avoid harm to our communities and our environment. 

"This is absolutely the wrong move at the wrong time for the Berejiklian Government. A petty political act of vandalism against the urgent needs of their constituents, particularly those on the frontline of global heating in rural Australia.

"Instead of pretending we have no stake in global action on climate change, we need a plan that recognises that the Hunter region will need to adjust to declining coal use worldwide and to prepare our communities for the severe weather extremes that are bearing down on us."
BACKGROUND

The Guardian, 22 October 2019:

The New South Wales government has announced it will introduce legislation to try to stop planning authorities from blocking mine developments based on emissions from coal once it is burned.
The push is a response to the historic Rocky Hill verdict delivered by the NSW Land and Environment court earlier this year and comes just days after the government launched a review of the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

Environment groups and the legal firm that represented Groundswell Gloucester have described it as a capitulation to the mining industry, which has waged a campaign over recent planning decisions that either rejected mining projects outright or imposed conditions on them related to their impact on the climate.
The NSW deputy premier and resources minister, John Barilaro, said the government would introduce legislation to parliament in the next week to prevent “the regulation of overseas, or scope-three, greenhouse gas emissions” in mining approvals.....
“The government has a very clear policy when it comes to the consideration of scope-three emissions and this will now be enshrined in legislation and through changes to the Mining SEPP (state environmental planning policy),” Barilaro said on Tuesday.
The changes the government is proposing include amending the State Environmental Planning Policy (Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industries) to remove the requirement to consider downstream emissions (emissions after coal or gas is sold and burned).
It also plans to amend the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act so that planning authorities are prohibited from imposing conditions on developers related to downstream emissions.
“These changes will help restore NSW law and policy to the situation that existed prior to the Rocky Hill decision and will provide the mining sector with greater certainty,” Barilaro said.
The proposal is not unexpected and was foreshadowed by the government earlier this month following a campaign by the NSW Minerals Council, which has attacked a number of recent decisions by planning authorities in NSW.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2019:
The NSW government prepared sweeping climate change policies to decarbonise the state's economy only to have the plans shelved when Gladys Berejiklian became Premier, documents obtained by the Herald show.
The program included a proposal to "embed climate change consideration into government decision making", and was developed with the advice of the government-appointed expert panel, the Climate Change Council.
Mark Speakman, then environment minister, led the work on two sets of policies that were to give substance to the government's aim to make NSW carbon neutral by 2050. The net-zero carbon goal was announced in November 2016 when Mike Baird was premier.....
Echo NetDaily, 4 April 2019:

Less than a week after being returned to office, the Liberal-National Party moved quickly to weaken environmental protections and local government powers by transferring them to the planning department and the premier, Gladys Berejiklian.

Under the Administration of Acts Order and associated changes made on Tuesday this week, the Coalition government have moved many key ministerial responsibilities, effectively disempowering the ministers and their departments.

Of major concern, say NSW Labor and the Greens, is the scrapping of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), a department tasked with the oversight of environmental protection across the state. Premier Berejiklian told Fairfax’s SMH that ‘heritage would be shifted to the Arts portfolio headed by Don Harwin as minister’.

SMH reporter Peter Hannam also wrote, ‘As part of the changes, the Office of Local Government will also cease to exist as a separate entity, while the Planning & Environment cluster will end its operations as of July 1 this year’.

According to Administration of Acts Order, the re-appointed Planning Minister Rob Stokes will now exercise all the powers under the Local Government Act 1993....

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Tweet of the Week


Thursday, 29 August 2019

Castillo Copper pays out $96k in enforceable undertaking after allegedly contravening NSW Mining Act during activity on its Clarence Valley exploration lease


The Daily Examiner, 28 August 2019, p.3: 

The companies behind mining exploration at Cangai have had to pay more than $90,000 after breaching their license. 

Total Minerals Pty. Ltd. and Total Iron Pty Ltd. put forward a $91,000 Mining Act enforceable undertaking which was accepted by the NSW Resources Regulator on Monday in relation to series of serious compliance issues back in November 2018. 

The alleged breaches included unauthorised drilling, not disposing of drilling waste properly and failing to prevent erosion and chemical or fuel spillages, resulted in both companies being issued suspension notices..... 

Resources Regulator Acting Director of Compliance Steve Orr said mining authorisations carried strict compliance responsibilities. “The community expects companies like Total Minerals and Total Iron to be aware of their legal and environmental obligations and have appropriate systems in place to ensure compliance,” Mr Orr said..... 

It was also noted that both companies which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Castillo Copper Ltd. had taken steps to rehabilitate the affected sites at a cost of “about $300,000”

An enforceable undertaking once agreed to avoids any potential prosecution for allegedly identified breaches of the conditions of a mining exploration licence.

A total of 16 offences were alleged by the Resources Regulator who included this notice to be published by the mining company as part of the enforceable undertaking accepted on 21 August 2019: 


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Tweed Shire Council abandons its principled stand on foreign multinational Adani's proposed Galilee Basin coal mine


In which Tweed Shire Council decides Australia doesn't need the Great Barrier Reef or the Black-throated Finch......

Echo NetDaily, 19 August 2019: 

The Tweed Shire Council has performed a political back-flip on a 2017 promise to avoid hiring building companies contracted to Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in central Queensland. 

Councillors voted for the ban two years ago, with Tweed Shire Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) saying they ‘wished to represent the views of the community’. Cr Cherry said Adani didn’t have any approvals to mine in Carmichael at the time but people on the Tweed were concerned about potential environmental impacts of the project on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Labor councillor flips anti-Adani ban in favour of jobs 

Last week, Cr James Owen (Liberals) tabled a rescission on the 2017 vote and won majority support, meaning the ban no longer applies. 

Cr Ron Cooper (Independent) was absent from the meeting and had originally supported an anti-Adani stance. 

But a change of heart from Cr Reece Brynes (Labor) was enough to change council policy as he joined forces with Councillors Owen, Pryce Allsop (Independent) and Warren Polglase (Nationals). 

Cr Byrnes told Echonetdaily although he initially voted for the ban and continues to share environmental impact concerns, state and federal government approvals of the Carmichael project mean the council has to ‘accept realities’. 

‘My priority and Labor’s priority is always about creating more local jobs in the Tweed,’ he wrote in an email, ‘I make no apologies that Labor’s priority is always about creating jobs’. 

The council had to ‘move away from a position of protest’ to one that wouldn’t ‘prohibit or hamper future projects and jobs for people in the tweed’, Cr Byrnes wrote.....


BRIEF BACKGROUND

Environmental Defenders Office Qld, Case Explainer: Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme - Federal Judicial Review

Australian Conservation Foundation, Stop Adani's polluting coal mine

Lock the Gate, Coal Mining: Water Impacts of the Adani Coal Mine

Climate Council, Adani Mine Must Be Stopped

ABC News, What we know about Adani's Carmichael coal mine project