Fears of a voter backlash have seen the Victorian Government put the brakes on plans to allow the mining and export of the State’s brown coal to India.
The controversial plans for Melbourne-based company Exergen to develop a $1.5 billon scheme to mine, dry and ship up to 12 million tonnes of Latrobe Valley brown coal to India were revealed in October after government documents were leaked to The Age newspaper.
Victoria’s Minister for Energy and Resources Peter Batchelor has now ruled out the Exergen export plan.
“The Government has no plans to allocate coal to Exergen or to any other company outside of a competitive tender process,” a spokeswoman for Batchelor’s office told MINING DAILY.
“There are no immediate plans for a competitive coal allocation.”
The Victorian Government’s decision comes on the heels of reports from last month that Exergen paid for an exclusive meeting between its executives and Premier John Brumby while its coal export plan was before cabinet.
Brown coal from the Latrobe Valley is considered to be especially carbon-intensive and harmful to the environment.
Batchelor’s spokeswoman said that such environmental factors will need to be taken into account in future decisions regarding the State’s coal resources.
“Victoria’s coal is an increasingly valuable resource and any future allocation strategy will need to consider the economic development opportunities and environmental impacts,” she said.