The federal government’s call to apply minimum standards to the measurement of carbon emissions from open cut coal mines early next decade is “too ambitious”, Xstrata Coal says.
The recently released green paper on the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) suggests that open cut coal mines will need to have minimum standards for measuring ‘fugitive’ carbon emissions from 2010.
Xstrata Coal spokesman James Rickards said there was no way to effectively measure greenhouse gas emissions when open cut coal mining because, by nature, an open cut mine is in an open environment.
“We’re asking for a greater delay to ensure that technology is in place,” Rickards said.
“Unfortunately, there is still no effective measurement system in place globally to identify the level of emissions (from open cut mines).
“Xstrata Coal is looking to persuade the government to delay the inclusion of fugitive emissions until the industry completes its current work with government to determine how best to measure them.”
Rickards said there was concern that the agricultural sector “has had its fugitive emissions excluded whereas the mining industry will still be held accountable for them”.
“Just as agriculture companies have said they have problems measuring their fugitive emissions – methane from cattle – industry faces the exact same problem, but we haven’t been given the free pass that has been provided to agriculture,” he said.
“In our view, the green paper is a reasonable step forward towards a greater and more efficient plan for an emissions trading scheme, but work obviously needs to be done.
“It has been a little too ambitious in suggesting that fugitive emissions can be addressed and included from day one.”