Xstrata Coal calls for carbon tax talks

The chief executive of Swiss-Anglo mining giant Xstrata Coal has weighed into the carbon tax debate, urging the Federal Government to begin negotiations.

The chief executive of Swiss-Anglo mining giant Xstrata Coal has weighed into the carbon tax debate, urging the Federal Government to begin negotiations.

Peter Freyberg has called on the Federal Government to initiate a proper consultation process on how a price on carbon dioxide emissions would be administered.

"There are certain principles we need to think around in terms of whether carbon should be priced and how it is priced in term of how a scheme is introduced and so forth," he told reporters.

"One of the issues we have a problem with is uncertainty.

“That uncertainty actually does effect investment decisions.

“So we would like the debate to start so that we can move forward."

The statement echoes the sentiments of both Coal and Allied and BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers, who recently said a price on carbon should be part of any response to climate change.

However, not all miners are in agreement.

Macarthur Coal chairman Keith DeLacy told ABC TV that most of the industry did not share Kloppers’ opinions.

“[It is] a pretty lonely view in the resources industry," he said.

"We have got one percent of world emissions – the rest of the world could not care less what Australia did.

"Why would we be committing economic suicide in Australia when it is not going to help the rest of the world?

"Most of us cannot see why we would have a carbon tax in Australia in advance of the rest of the world.

"In fact, there’s a good argument to say that it would actually increase global emissions."

He qualified these remarks by saying although he would find a carbon tax easier to support than the Emissions Trading Scheme, he wanted “whole of the world working together on this” first.