There Is No Room For Coal In The Pacific
Brisbane, Australia – Today, The Pacific Climate Warriors in conjunction with the Nogat Coal Campaign, organised a protest at the AGM of Australian energy company Mayur Resources. The ASX-listed company is planning to develop a coal industry in Papua New Guinea (PNG) – including a coal-fired power station on the doorstep of Lae, the country’s second largest city. If Mayur’s plan succeeds, PNG would be the first Pacific country with a coal industry.
Samantha Kuman, Advocacy Officer at CELCOR and member of the Nogat Coal campaign, said:
Mayur’s agenda defies all logic of science and economics in a world that is suffering accelerating climate change and a global economy that is seeing almost daily declarations of bankruptcy from the coal industry. PNG does not need coal-fired power. It is more expensive and more polluting than the many renewable energy sources – hydro, solar and biomass – that we already have an abundance of here.
It is also clear to us that this is yet another example of an Australian company pushing for a project without proper consultation and consent from the local PNG communities, as we saw with Rio Tinto’s Panguna mine in the 1970s and BHP’s Ok Tedi mine in the 1980s. We have seen again more recently with Juukan Gorge in Western Australia that these problems just keep occurring. As with these examples, Mayur Resources do not have a social license to operate, especially when it comes its planned coal-fired power plant in Lae.
Mary Maselina Harm, Queensland Coordinator at the Pacific Climate Warriors, said:
We believe that it is vital to stand in solidarity with the Nogat Coal campaign and the local communities that oppose Mayur Resources’ coal projects. There is also a worldwide movement to fight against climate injustice as we speak – an injustice for which the mining and burning of coal is a leading cause. As Pacific Islanders living in Brisbane we know that we are not on the frontlines of the climate crisis, but we are on the frontlines of climate action. As the seas and temperatures are rising – so are we.
With our peaceful protest, we want to amplify the voices of and stand together with the local communities in PNG. For their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent – and for our survival.
Luke Fletcher, Executive Director of Jubilee Australia and member of the Nogat Coal campaign, said:
It has been twelve years since Australia built a new coal-fired power station in our own country. This is because renewables are cheaper and come without either the carbon pollution of the other health and environmental impacts that coal causes. If we are no longer building coal plants here, why would we start building them in PNG?
The project also does not stack up from an economic perspective. The global coal industry is declining sharply as financers and insurers around the world are backing away from it and turning towards renewables. We have serious questions about the economic viability of Mayur’s coal-fired power station , and we believe that there is a high risk that it could lock the company’s shareholders into stranded assets and Papua New Guineans into more expensive and dirty power for 25 years.
Media Contact: Luke Fletcher +61 435 901 086 / firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE NOGAT COAL CAMPAIGN (www.nogatcoal.org)
The ‘Nogat Coal: No coal in PNG’ campaign is a collaboration between CELCOR, Nogat Coal and, Jubilee Australia Research Centre. The campaign’s goal is to stop the development of the coal industry in Papua New Guinea led by an Australian listed company. Papua New Guinea does not need to open for a dying industry to improve its energy access. Instead, we believe that the answer lies in a just and equitable energy pathway for PNG using renewable energy.
ABOUT THE PACIFIC CLIMATE WARRIORS
The Pacific Climate Warriors is a youth-led grassroots network working with communities to fight back against the climate crisis in the Pacific. We work with community organisers across 17 Pacific Island nations and diaspora teams in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America to highlight the vulnerabilities of our island homes to climate change, while showcasing our strength and resilience. Through storytelling we are changing the narrative of our people from mere victims of climate change to warriors of the Pacific, thriving and surviving despite the climate crisis. This is why we rally behind the mantra ‘we are not drowning; we are fighting’.
By organising workshops to educate and empower youth in the region we are amplifying the voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis and building Pacific Pawa (power).
NOGAT COAL – BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
In September, Jubilee and CELCOR released a report on Mayur Resources coal agenda in PNG. The report argues that the project is unnecessary, that it would have serious health and environmental impacts and the electricity it generates would largely benefit only mining companies, not communities. The report also highlights how the plant in Papua New Guinea would undermine future renewable initiatives as well as lock in higher energy prices.
While Mayur Resources has claimed that coal power will benefit PNG, the CELCOR and Jubilee Report has made a range of allegations, principally that:
- Mayur Resources’s claim that the extra electricity produced by the plant would benefit the people of PNG who are missing out on electrification is largely unfounded, and that the principal beneficiaries would be Canadian, Australian and South African mining companies.
- There has been a distinct lack of community consultation, especially with the nearby community of Labu Butu, which is just 500 metres from the proposed site.
- The health impacts of putting a large coal-fired power plant so close to a major population centre such as Lae would be substantial.
- Mayur Resources’s claim that it can produce electricity at a significantly lower tariff than hydro and biomass is highly questionable, which raises real questions about the economic viability of the project and locking PNG into high power prices.
- Starting a coal industry to help meet PNG’s energy needs is completely unnecessary. PNG already sources much of its energy from hydro, and is developing more hydropower plants. It is also developing its first biomass and solar plants. All of these are better options for improving supply to the grid than coal.
- The regulatory approval process has been riddled with irregularities, raising deep concerns about the integrity of the governance processes.
- A coal-fired power plant in Papua New Guinea would undermine Papua New Guinea’s national climate plan under the Paris Agreement, which commits the country to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
The report is available here.