Tracing the future of coal mining in Australia post approval of Adani Carmichael coal mine

Even as the state governments have given a nod to several new coal projects like Adani Carmichael coal mine, Kevin’s Corner coal mine, Olive Downs coal mine, etc., some questions remain over the future of coal mining in Australia

Dozens of coal mines are operating across several states in Australia. While some of them have been operating from a long time, others are new on the scene and are looking to start the production sooner than later. Even as the state governments have given a nod to new coal projects like the Adani Carmichael coal mine, Kevin’s Corner coal mine, Olive Downs coal mine, etc., some questions remain over the future of coal mining in Australia.

Additionally, the enormous pressure exerted by the motivated campaigns of environmental activists, besides global initiatives to ensure zero carbon emissions by 2050 has put the future of coal mining in a jeopardy. The situation has been further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lockdown forced by the same. However, Australia is well-known to be the world’s second largest exporter of coal from some time. Given its economic dependence on the sector and long-term policy generation, the decision is likely to be favourable for coal mining in the long run. 

The coal mines operating in Australia not only employee thousands of skilled workers and attract hundreds of small and mid-sized business along the supply chain, but also contribute a lot to the country’s economy all the time. The impact of coal mines has always been significant on the growth prospects of the states hosting these mines.

Even during the pandemic, coal mines continued the operations and cushioned the country’s economy and skilled workforce without too many hurdles. The sector may undergo a few changes through a step-by-step process, but it cannot afford any major scale down in the near future. The possible economic devastation caused by such a step is unimaginable to say the least. Thousands of workers would be left unemployed and many businesses would be forced into liquidation sooner or later.

At this juncture, the government has done well to withstand the pressure, having approved many new coal mining projects in the recent time. The authorities are well-aware of the situation on ground and understand the importance of securing the future of coal mining in Australia. They are backing a long-term strategy to make informed decisions in a stabilized manner, rather than doing things in a hurry. It is ensuring uninterrupted supply of coal and increased use of technology to reduce the carbon emissions. 

Diversification is also the key with the government wary of the situation all along, wherein a sudden shutdown would lead to devastation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It is not easy to undermine the role of new mining projects like the Adani Carmichael coal mine, Kevin’s Corner coal mine, Olive Downs coal mine, etc, in creating hundreds of employment opportunities in the coming years. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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