Peter Holt

Trade expert: coal divestment campaign will hurt Qld

A PRO-MINING advocate has compared campaigns to stop the coal industry to the anti-tobacco and anti-apartheid movements.

Speaking at the Mining 2014 conference in Brisbane yesterday, trade expert Alan Oxley said a campaign to end coal mining was being driven by key green groups.

He said the environmental groups, led by Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Federation, had launched a co-ordinated attack on organisations investing in coal.

"If you read the literature they say - we did it to tobacco, we did it in South Africa and apartheid, we can do it on coal," he said.

"They want to decrease investor certainty to deter investors, and they actually also want to turn the regulators against coal."

Mr Oxley claimed the environmentalists' alliance had targeted coal investment - pointing to the Australian National University's divestment in coal earlier this month.

He said a successful divestment campaign would hurt regional Queensland - but the program had so far been unsuccessful at forcing universities, other than ANU, or investment funds away from coal.

Mr Oxley also praised the coal's future saying it was the "cheapest source of energy".

He also said that projections showed China and India would remain big coal users.

WWF reef campaigner Louise Matthiesson denied they were involved in a campaign against coal.

"WWF is pro-reef not anti-mining. Our campaigning is based on science," she said.

"Leading reef experts are warning that dumping and dredging for port expansions, increased shipping, agricultural run-off, and climate change are pushing the reef to the brink.

"A 50% loss of coral cover is a pretty compelling case for not creating additional pressures through dredging and dumping."

- APN NEWSDESK



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