Greenpeace calls on coal lobby group to tell the truth about coal ships

Press release - 23 May, 2012
23rd May 2012. In response to attempts by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) to downplay the risks of increased shipping through the Great Barrier Reef as a result of the coal boom, Greenpeace is calling on the lobby group to stop misleading the public and to come clean about industry expansion plans.

“The mining industry can’t have it both ways,” said John Hepburn, Senior Campaigner with Greenpeace. “They can’t push optimistic growth plans in order to exaggerate royalty payments and then talk down the boom when it comes to environmental impacts. It is simply dishonest.”

In November last year QRC Executive Director, Michael Roche issued a media statement[i] claiming $8billion in State royalties by the end of the decade, based on a projected tripling of coal exports from Queensland by 2020.

The figure was based on the QRC commissioned report “2011 Growth Outlook”, in which the full growth scenario projected coal production to increase from just over 200 million tonnes per annum in 2011 to almost 700 million tonnes per annum in 2020[ii].  This is would be more than a tripling by the end of the decade.

“When you look at the mine and port proposals in the planning process, Queensland is indeed expected to triple coal exports by the end of the decade – that is what we have based our shipping estimates on,” said Hepburn.

There are seven major coal port expansions proposed for within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Greenpeace projections for increased shipping numbers are derived directly from the company documents for the proposals that are currently in the planning process. They actually exclude several proposals.

When contacted by Greenpeace this morning, the QRC could not provide any specific information to substantiate their claims of lower shipping numbers. Their media officer said there was no information in the public domain that describes their methodology for reaching a shipping number that is roughly half the size that would be expected given the growth scenario they were promoting in November last year.

“If the QRC wants to try to halve projected shipping numbers, they need to publically state which of the 7 proposed coal ports will be cancelled or downscaled, they will need to publically halve their claims of projected future royalty payments, and they will need to publicly release the justification for their figures,” Hepburn said. “We’re happy to have a conversation about it, but until the QRC address these issues we’ll stand by our estimates of shipping numbers,” Hepburn concluded.

For further comment contact:  

Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn 0407 231 172

Greenpeace Media Officer Julie Macken 0400 925 217

[i] http://www.qrc.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=2930

[ii] http://www.qrc.org.au/_dbase_upl/Growth%20Outlook%20Report_Final.pdf  Figure 7, page 16.

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