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Lock the Gate condemns economically irresponsible approval of new coal terminal for Newcastle

Lock the Gate Alliance condemns the approval today of the T4 coal terminal proposed for what is already the world’s biggest coal export port in Newcastle, as economically and environmentally irresponsible.

"This new and additional coal loader – if built - would enable the ramp up of new open cut coal mines, despite community concern about the industry. About 5 new mega coal mines would be required to supply T4 (or up to 27 average sized mines), said Nic Clyde, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.

“Throughout the Hunter Valley and Liverpool Plains, agricultural land, water resources, and remnant bushland have been under extreme pressure as the coal industry rapidly expands. Today’s decision only adds to that pressure.”

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission today gave conditional approval to the proposed Port Waratah Coal Terminal 4 (T4) Project, but noted in its determination, “The project is unusual as there is no immediate need for the development of the terminal.”

“The T4 coal terminal is a project that is entirely unnecessary. This has been acknowledged by the Planning Assessment Commission and even by the project's proponent, but somehow the NSW Government has seen fit to give the green light to what is yet another coal project in NSW,” said Mr Clyde.

Just eight days ago, Goldman Sachs released a research note saying that thermal coal demand peaked in 2013 and will only decline in the future. The note emphatically stated that the “industry does not require new investment given the ability of existing assets to satisfy flat demand”.

In 2012-13, 80% of the coal exported from Newcastle was thermal coal for power stations.

“Approving T4 at a time when coal is in terminal decline is an economically irresponsible and short-sighted decision.

“If the T4 coal project is ever developed it will contribute to the degradation of the local environment, increase coal dust air pollution in Newcastle and the Hunter and exacerbate the threat to farmland and water by encouraging new mines and expansions to existing mines.

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