Amid dire predictions about job losses and the drying up of investment in the sector due to a proposed carbon tax come more bad news for Australia's coal miners.
Platts reports New South Wales plans to increase the royalties it receives from coal companies to offset some $400 million in extra costs to the state's coal-fired electricity generators due to the very same federal government carbon levy.
Around 95% of NSW's royalty revenue comes from coal mines where rates currently top out at 8.2% of the value of production and is forecast to rise to $2.1 billion in the year ending June 2013 after the hikes come into effect.
Platts reports royalties are levied by Australian state governments on the value of coal production and present royalty rates in New South Wales are 6.2% for underground mines that are more than 400 meters deep, 7.2% for mines less than 400 meters deep and 8.2% for open-cut coal mines.
MINING.com reported on Wednesday Australia’s proposed emissions trading scheme – which will evolve from the carbon tax being implemented next year – has won praise from Beijing, where it will be the model for one of six Chinese pilot programmes to be introduced in 2013. Earlier this week the EU also endorsed the controversial Australian plans and announced the start of talks for the eventual linkage of carbon trading by 2015.
WA Today reports support for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard from business has been scarce in recent months, and earlier this week the government was criticised by one of its own business advisers – former BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) xstratchairman Don Argus – for not properly planning how the proceeds of the proposed carbon and mining taxes would be spent. Gloucester Coal (ASX:GCL), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Xstrata (LON:XTA) all have operations in NSW.