Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine – by James Thornhill(Bloomberg News – June 12, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — A giant Glencore Plc coal project in Australia has been fast-tracked as the nation turns to its vast natural resources to lift the economy out of its first recession in almost three decades.

The A$1.5 billion ($1 billion) Valeria mine in Queensland has been designated a “coordinated project”, which the state said Friday would help to get new jobs happening quicker. That comes as the national government stands firm in the face of calls at home and abroad to shift away from the highly polluting fuel.

“This new mine has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs as Queensland recovers from the extraordinary shock of the global coronavirus pandemic,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said. “Coal mining has a long history in Queensland and will continue to be a major industry for many years to come.”

The coal industry brings in around A$70 billion in annual export revenue. The government is betting on strong consumption of the fuel in Asia even as critics warn that the falling cost of renewables and global efforts to combat climate change may see that demand evaporate.

“A coal-driven economic recovery only throws us from one crisis into another,” said Gavan McFadzean, climate and energy program manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation.

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