Sunday, 24 June 2007

Anvil Hill Mine Approved

Centennial Coal recently announced the NSW approval of their newest open cut mine in the Hunter. The Anvil Hill Mine will produce up to 10.5 million tonnes of coal per year [that's 1,200 tonnes an hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week] for both export and domestic use, create an estimated 1,500 direct and indirect jobs and generate over $400 million in wages and royalties over the next 21 years of operation.

And then there's the recent announcement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, clearing the large queue of ships [sometimes reaching 70 vessels] waiting to relieve the area of their coal deposits. Demurrage costs were reaching $1 Million a day for heaven's sake.

No mention of the environmental impact of all that coal. But hey, we must feed the beast, right?

I decided to make this post - not so much because I am opposed to coal. In fact I understand significant quantities of coal generated energy will be around for centuries. My point here is to express concern regarding the reality of coal derived energy expansion while environmental fundamentalists preach renewables from a staunchly anti-nuclear position.

If nuclear takes too long to develop; then where are the windmills, solar cells, tidal turbines, geothermal plants, efficiency campaigns, etc. that should have made the above expansion unnecessary?

If nuclear is too expensive; then why has Western Australia found it necessary to introduce legislation making the deployment of nuclear power plants illegal? If there is in fact no credible business case, wouldn't the plans just wither on the drawing board? The hackneyed action by the WA government is - in a sense - acknowledgement that nuclear power is indeed an economically competitive source of no/low emissions energy.

If the risk of nuclear proliferation is too great; I'd like to know how many people have to die in Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere before the strife inherent to the fossil fuel supply chain is properly addressed.

If nuclear waste [safely reprocessed in several countries, safely stored for decades in the others] posses too great a risk; please tell me why society offers little more than lip service and a few catchy slogans on popular beaches while fossil wastes are indiscriminately dumped, by the millions of tonnes, throughout the globe - resulting in broadly distributed adverse habitats, death and increasing cases of extinction; realities that will remain for future generations to manage for centuries - if they're lucky.

No comments:

Post a Comment