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Mineral Council’s coal-focused economic plan madness says Lock the Gate

A new academic critique of the NSW Mineral Council’s covid-19 economic recovery plan has demonstrated how out of touch the mining lobby group is with reality, says Lock the Gate Alliance.

LTGA NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said the Minerals Council’s recovery plan had ignored global market realities, the urgent need to protect land and water resources, and the need to take meaningful action against climate change to secure Australia’s economic future.

Research by Professor Jeremy Moss of UNSW’s Climate Justice Project found the 21 coal projects on the Mineral Council’s wishlist represented greenhouse gas emissions significantly greater than the combined 2018 emissions of Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

Ms Woods said “The NSW Minerals Council is typically ignoring the environmental and social damage of the new and expanding coal mines on its list and trying again to coerce New South Wales into accepting mining projects that will damage our long term interests.

“The mines on the list include Watermark, on the Liverpool Plains, Wallarah 2 in the drinking water catchment of the Central Coast, and mines in the heart of the Hunter Valley where air pollution is already harming people’s health. 

“Far from helping us recover, coal mining companies are laying off workers in response to collapsing prices and slumping demand. What the Hunter region and the state needs is a sustainable recovery based on industries that don’t dig up farmland, deplete water resources and drive dangerous climate change.” 

Big mining companies like BHP have already warned the NSWMC that its agenda is out of step with the need to take meaningful action against dangerous climate change, and have threatened to leave the council as a result.

“The Covid-19 disruption and thermal coal slump has shown how vulnerable over-reliance on coal has made us, and this new report highlights the lasting global climate change implications of that, which hurts all of us in the long term," Ms Woods said.

“Hearings have been taking place this week in NSW parliament into options to diversify our economy and help coal mining regions grow into new industries as our trade partners move to replace coal power with affordable renewable energy. That’s where NSW needs to focus its attention.”

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