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Korean coal-tax increase could hit Bylong mine proposal

GIANTS: A stacker-reclaimer operating between coal stockpiles at Port Waratah Coal Service’s Kooragang Coal Terminal. Picture: Darren PatemanA PRO-RENEWABLES group says a decision by South Korea to lift a consumption tax on thermal coal by 20 per cent to about $40 a tonne is another blow to the Korean-owned Bylong coal proposal near Mudgee.
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Bylong coal would be exported through Newcastle if the mine goes ahead. High-quality thermal coal is selling for about $115 a tonne at present.

The pro-renewables Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says it has written a new report for theBylong Valley Protection Alliance in which it urges the NSW Department of Planning to “revise its previous support for the mine, in light of the reduced economic justification for it and the severity of its environmental and social impacts”. The institute says the extra tax on thermal coal would be another hit on Bylong’s economics.

The pro-coal NSW Minerals Council disagrees, saying the tax is unlikely to have a major impact. An industry journal, the Australian Coal Report, says the proposed $8.93-a-tonne rise is the fifth rise in five years.

Minerals council chief executive Stephen Galilee said: “While the economics of individual projects are a matter for the proponents, its worth noting that NSW has a long history of exporting thermal coal to Korea, which has become one of our biggest export markets.

“Coal exports to Korea actually grew last year, and strong demand from Korea is expected to continue due the high quality of our coal and suitability for energy generation and steel production.”

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