Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer

THE Australian coal industry is subject to an unprecedented and unfair dual attack which could potentially cripple the sector, according to mining mogul Clive Palmer.
Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer Coal industry taking too many punches: Palmer

Palmer cited the federal government's passing of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax coupled with Greenpeace's plan to launch an extensive anti-coal campaign.

And he didn't turn down a chance to launch yet another attack on the MRRT legislation which was passed by the Senate last night, 38 votes to 32.

The MRRT, which applies to coal and iron ore projects only, is set to kick-off from July 1. It will be levied on 30% of the taxable profit of a project and is expected to generate $10.5 billion in revenue within its first two years.

Palmer, who owns coal exploration company Waratah Coal has been an avid campaigner against the mining tax, believing it will have a crippling effect on the coal and iron ore sectors.

He said today the passing of the mining tax was a bitter blow for Australian resource companies.

"The mining tax is only going to make Australian companies less competitive against foreign-owned opposition and ultimately it will threaten many Australian jobs," he added.

Palmer said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had only engaged with the Greens and mining giants Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Xstara on the tax, but had failed to consult with the wider mining community.

On top of the looming tax on coal mining, exploration companies have been the subject of a US-funded anti-coal campaign, which he described as a dual blow for the Australian coal sector.

Palmer said the recently leaked document titled Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom had confirmed fears that local ideologues such as Drew Hutton and Greens leader Bob Brown were collaborating with foreign multi-nationals to destroy the coal industry.

"This document proves the Australian coal industry is under serious threat from a professionally orchestrated and overseas funded campaign to destroy it through methods including the manipulation of our court system to delay vital infrastructure projects," Palmer said.

The anti-coal campaign aims to interfere with the Australian coal boom by disrupting and delaying key projects and infrastructure, while simultaneously creating investor uncertainty.

Palmer said the $6 million campaign is funded by the US-based Rockefeller Family Fund, which is bankrolled by donations from the descendants of US oil magnate John D. Rockefeller.

One of the key objectives of the plan is to halt the development of coal activity in Queensland's emerging Galilee Basin.

The Galilee Basin is the planned location of Palmer's proposed $8.8 billion China First project, which alone could generate 6000 jobs during construction and lift the state's coal exports by 40 million tonnes.

Palmer urged Australia's political leaders to publicly condemn the "cynical blueprint that treats our legal processes with contempt and our citizens as fools."

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