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Queensland coal may find a way through China's trade wall


Trade barriers imposed by China on Queensland’s coking coal exports were showing signs of cracking, according to the ANZ.

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It said high domestic prices and demand were putting pressure on China through increased costs for seaborne coal.

“China’s tight domestic supply is likely to pave the way for import restrictions on coking coal to ease,’’ it said in its commodity report today.

The Queensland Resources Council said it had seen no shift in policy from China and was not about to speculate on it.

However, the State Government made similar noises in its recent state Budget.

The Government said there was continued uncertainty over trade with China but it forecast increased demand from the country at the end of this financial year, but at subdued levels.

The controversy over Pembroke Resources winning $175 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility has also reached the door of the Palaszczuk Government.

Greens MP Michael Berkman said the Premier should veto the funding or explain why taxpayers should help pay for a coal mine.

He said if a $9 billion private equity firm like Denham Capital, which backs Pembroke, don’t want to fund a new coal mine why should taxpayers?

“If Olive Downs needs the NAIF, it’s not looking good for the rest of Queensland’s met coal,” he said.

The State Government said it had consistently supported the Olive Downs project in the Bowen Basin and NAIF loan would be considered by the Government through the normal processes.

Pembroke chief executive Barry Tudor said there the argument against new metallurgical coal mines was that any new project would only exacerbate the existing emissions from steel production.

“This is an overly simplistic supposition, and the reality is vastly different,’’ he said. 

“While we expect an eventual move to new, more efficient/low emission steel making technologies, the reality is these are several decades away. 

“A reduction of emissions from steel production can be achieved now. 

“The worst 3 per cent of global steelmaking coal producers emit more Scope 1 and 2 CO2e than the lowest 35 per cent. 

“Introducing low-cost, low-emitting steelmaking coals to the global market will displace the worst of these high-emitting producers. 

“Olive Downs Coking Coal will be produced at the lowest quartile of Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions and therefore can displace much higher emitting coals.’’

The Government has been asked for comment.

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