4 December China’s cut to coal imports December 4, 2020 By Sally Parker General, Industry Coal, Trade, China 0 In October, China’s coal imports dropped by 47% compared to the same period last year. This equates to almost 12 million tonnes in one month and was a result of escalating trade tensions between Australia and China. China has reportedly banned Australian coal, which may have a detrimental impact on the industry. In the 2019 financial year, Australia’s coal exports were valued at $69.6 billion, and China imported $14 billion from Australia. Last year, Australia supplied China with over 40% of their coking coal imports and 57% of their thermal coal. The Government has been in talks with the Chinese authorities and industry, but there hasn’t been any official ban on Australian coal imports as yet. However, it has been reported that authorities have held over $700 million worth of Australian coal at Chinese imports due to environmental issues claiming concerns over the safety and quality of the products. It has also been reported that power stations and steel mills in China have been told to stop using Australian coal. BHP has also confirmed that Chinese customers have started deferring shipments of coal. While this is concerning to industry, it also opens up the opportunity to expand coal exports to other markets. The Minerals Council of Australia expects Asia to continue to drive export growth for coal. For example, population growth in urbanisation and infrastructure spending is expected to increase demand in India. Due to its cost-effectiveness, India is expected to fuel up to 60% of this growth with coal until at least 2030. Companies such as Coronado Global Resources are also proving that a Chinese import ban will not impact them significantly. The company which has no long-term contracts with Chinese markets and delivered an increase in coal output in the September quarter. The company achieved record quarterly production at its Curragh mine in Queensland along with record sales volumes of 3.6 million tonnes. Other companies have also continued to forge relationships in China. Fortescue Metals Group is a case in point, having recently secured 12 new agreements with Chinese steel mills, procurement partners and financial institutions valued at over $5 billion. While it is unclear how long the strained trade relations between Australia and China will go on for, there are still opportunities for coal in other markets and even in China in other industries. The relationship is one that industry will need to monitor closely to determine if changes in strategy will be required to weather this storm. Related Articles ARELJ Article- Market Substitution, Climate Change and Coal Royalty Revenue in Queensland and NSW: Filling the Void ARELJ Case Note - Implications of New Provisions in the Human Rights Act Following Waratah Coal Decision COMMUNITY LEGAL RIGHTS IN MINE CLOSURE PLANNING; A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THREE AUSTRALIAN STATES Professor Alex Gardner, University of Western Australia Law School, and Laura Hamblin, formerly research associate at the UWA Law School, 2021 Why does the Mining Act 1978 (WA) not provide secure legal rights for community consultation in relation to mining lease proposals and mine closure plans? Addressing this question presents an important theme for this comparative review of some core features of the regulatory frameworks for mine closure in three Australian States. It also raises important questions for future legal research. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria have prominent but vastly different, and thus uniquely significant, mining industries. Western Australia’s mining industry has a long history of large and smaller scale mining of a diverse range of minerals by various methods that pose significant mine rehabilitation challenges.[i] Queensland’s mining industry is similarly large and diverse, dominated by export coal production, and planning future minerals development in a decarbonising world.[ii] Victoria has a smaller mining industry with a large historical legacy dominated by a coal mining industry for domestic electricity generation in the Latrobe Valley, which is closing as the State actively transitions to renewable power sources.[iii] These States also have significant differences in the regulation of their mining industries. What all three States do have in common is the significance of their mining industries to both the State economy and the communities who depend on or live near mining operations. Importantly, all three States are confronting large legal and regulatory challenges in managing mine rehabilitation and closure. The key to addressing these challenges is effective mine closure planning: the closure of a mine site has ripple effects that are not merely environmental and economic, but social and cultural too. The initial approval of a mine closure plan occurs before any mining has begun and, with the life cycle of a mine often spanning decades, regulatory bodies are approving hypothetical closure scenarios, potentially subject to vast changes. Regulatory bodies may then seek to enforce closure requirements enshrined in a plan that may wane in relevance as mining operations progress, the updating of which may depend on the miner. Yet remedying the regulatory system so that it creates adaptable but consistently effective mine closure outcomes for affected communities still begins at planning. Although that planning is an iterative process across the life of the mine, it is very important at the initial stage of approval. Recent legislative reforms in all three States are adding to the regulatory rigour and adaptability of mine closure planning, though there are very different legal requirements for community consultation. This article aims to explain and assess the regulatory reforms by undertaking a comparative analysis of mine closure planning across Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria, with a focus on the initial approval stage and how stakeholders and communities are brought into that process. The facilitation of continuous and comprehensive community engagement is critical to ensuring that mine closure planning accounts for environmental, economic, social, cultural and safety outcomes after mine closure, but it has not been possible to consider here the process of ongoing mine closure planning, especially for amending mine closure plans and determining satisfaction of mine closure plans leading to resource tenure relinquishment.[iv] The article begins by considering core concepts of mine closure planning and the regulatory goals that inform it. It then provides a comparative overview of each State’s mine closure planning requirements under the mineral resources, environmental and land use planning laws and draws out some of the different regulatory structures and processes for mine closure within each State. The third step in our analysis compares the ways in which those laws provide for local communities’ participation in mine closure planning, with specific attention to whether the regulatory provisions create legally enforceable rights for effective community engagement. The article concludes with a summary of the key points from the discussion of three themes in our analysis: (i) the importance of clear definitions of core concepts and key goals, (ii) mine closure planning as an essential part of a mining proposal, and (iii) the legal definition of community engagement and consultation rights. Mine closure planning and implementation is necessarily influenced by many other spheres of law including taxation law, investment law, water law, and the rights of traditional owners, to name a few. A potentially directly relevant Commonwealth law is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), which may require environmental impact assessment of a mining proposal and closure plan and lead to approval conditions supplementing State requirements.[v] Whilst acknowledging the importance of these adjacent spheres of the regulatory frameworks for effective mine closure planning, this article does not attempt to address their impact. In particular, the rights of Traditional Custodians are a crucial part of mine closure planning that are only briefly noted here and that would benefit from future research. WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Major Commodities Review 2022-23”. Qld Government, Department of Resources, Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan, June 022. Vic Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy. See L Hamblin, A Gardner, Y Haigh, Mapping the Regulatory Framework of Mine Closure, May 2022, CRC TiME, for a broader exploration of the full life cycle of mine closure regulation. In Buzzacott v Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities  FCAFC 111; (2013) 214 FCR 301, , -, referring to the range of approval conditions, which included mine closure. In setting conditions under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth Minister must consider any relevant conditions under State or Territory law: at  citing Lansen v Minister for Environment and Heritage (2008) 174 FCR 14. The impact of Russia/Ukraine conflict on the sector The impact of the Russia/Ukraine conflict on the sector On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Alongside the destruction and terror that’s been inflicted on the Ukrainian people, the conflict has also created great uncertainty in the global economy with flow on effects expected to be felt for years to come. Most western countries have imposed significant sanctions on trade with Russia, which includes a US ban on importing Russian oil. In addition, many Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT global payment system which will impact the ability to make financial payments both within and out of Russia. This has a significant impact on the resources sector that is likely to continue in the short to medium term. SHARMA v MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT More than a year on from the overturning of Sharma v Minister for the Environment by the Full Federal Court, Justice Bromberg’s original judgment continues to occupy the minds of the Australian legal community. Although the current position in Australia is that the Minister owes no duty of care in such cases, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia stressed that the expert evidence regarding the threat of climate change and global warming was largely uncontested, perhaps foreshadowing the cornerstone of cases to come. Globally, climate litigation is showing no signs of slowing down. As outlined below, despite numerous defeats in various jurisdictions, climate litigants have secured a small number of hard-won victories, fuelling the pipeline. Recent updates in New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia and Vietnam The industry’s legal landscape continues to evolve across the world. This article outlines some recent updates from New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia and Vietnam. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.