Australian company’s coal plans for PNG will increase deaths and illness: report

CELCOR (Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights Inc) and the Jubilee Australia Research Centre

4 June 2022

The Australian company, Mayur Resources, is gearing up to build the first coal-fired power plant in Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, the rest of the world plans to phase out coal by 2040 to meet the Paris Agreement climate targets.

The Nogat Coal campaign and the Evangelical Lutheran Church have been pushing back on Mayur’s proposed project alongside local communities, which they say will harm local communities and their environment.

Now a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has estimated health and economic impacts of air pollution from the proposed coal power plant.

Air pollution is the leading environmental cause of human death and disease. Coal is a major contributor of air pollutants.

The report reveals that over the 30 years the plant would likely operate, the proposed 52 megawatt coal plant would result in:

  • 30 premature deaths
  • 890 years of life lost
  • 5900 sick days off work

However, Mayur plans to eventually expand the coal-fired power plant to 200 megawatt, which would see health impacts spike to:

  • 115 premature deaths
  • 3500 years of lives lost
  • 23,500 sick days off work

These health impacts would, in turn, result in higher healthcare spending and a loss of economic productivity.

Over 30 years, the report estimates that the cost of long-term exposure to air pollution from a 200MW plant would total AUD$43.1 million/PGK 101.4 million—more than Papua New Guinea’s entire GDP in 2020.

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