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I find a number of the preceding arguments to be highly introspective and parochial, as if the writers think that Australia is the sole country in the world exporting coal, and are not looking at the global picture.
While we flounder about, we are destined to loose our export advantage and position (leading to lower GDP). Plus our high wage structure, when compared with southern Africa (lower than coastal China), and unwieldy red tape, is a further impediment.
Colombia has clean steaming coal, and with companies like Glencore and the BHP consortia (Cerrejón) investing heavily in this area, it will not take much additional investment to lift output. Currently this coal goes to Europe, output around 90 mtpa.
The Moatize basin in Mozambique. Vale have completed one line to Nacala with a capacity of 18 mtpa that was engineered with the capacity to be rapidly doubled to 36 mtpa. A Thai consortia has commenced work on a SG line paralleling the north bank of the Zambezi with the potential of at least 50 mtpa, and Chinese state interests are applying for a parallel cape gauge corridor that will tie in Zimbabwe (and Botswana). Add the existing line crossing the Zambezi over the Dona Ana bridge to the coal loader at Beira, and Mozambique has the potential to be shipping 100+ mtpa to mainly south east Asia within a decade.
South Africa through Richards Bay and the loader at Maputo, Richards bay is under utilised, capacity 91 mtpa. Botswans has huge proven coal reserves, it just requires the rail infrastructure to connect to a coastline.
The greenies can gloat as much as they like, and continue to trash Australia's export reputation, but other nations with lower wage costs, and complaint corrupt political classes, who don't give a monkey's toss about global warming, will readily step in to take up the slack. This is without considering the USA, who have exited the Paris Accord, with an existing capacity to ship an additional 200 mtpa.
This article first appeared on www.railpage.com.au
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