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81 responses to “The games miners play”

  1. Mk 50

    Anyone read the Greenpeace plan to destroy Australia’s coal export industry and cost tens of thousands of workers their jobs?

    They have a 2-phase plan costed at $5,919,000.

    Some of their intent looks illegal – is it legal to file vexatious lawsuits specifically designed to increase costs and add delay in Australian courts?

    It’s a well written document and reveals that much of their funding is from the USA. By the look of it, the intent is to damage the Australian coal industry so that US coal exporters have less competition, and to damage the Australian LNG export industry so that Greenpeace’s Saudi Arabian and Qatari paymasters face less competition in that market in Asia.

    It’s available here.

    Very interesting document, brought to you by US Rockefeller Foundation funding.

  2. Justin

    @Mk50,

    Hi Clive! Welcome to LP. Good to have a living treasure amongst us.

  3. Mk 50

    I wish….

  4. Fran Barlow

    Mk 50

    channelled Clive’s craziness and then wished out loud to be him … As another loppy rightist might say WUWT?

    That said, I do love the thought that we Greens could have the kind of impact that would make a difference to Australian coal exports.

  5. Mk 50

    [Uncivil remark redacted - Ed]

    Who would not wish to be a billionaire? (The obesity Clive can keep)

    And the US-funded Greenpeace plan does indeed map out an outcome which would cost the jobs of tens of thousands of Australian workers to the benefit of the US coal industry and Saudi and Qatari LNG export industries.

    The link is right there, go read it for yourself.

    And kudos to the Greenpeace whistleblower who leaked it to ABC’s Mediawatch!

    I thought that you were on the side of Australian workers, Fran.

    Many are union members in good standing. Why does Greenpeace want them to lose their jobs?

  6. David Irving (no relation)

    Brian, to be fair, the CIA crap is one of the games that at least one of the miners is playing. Of course, it indicates that that particular miner is barking mad, but hey!

  7. Patrickb

    @1
    Good on them I say. Unfortunately Clive, or Mk 50 to use his pseudonym, will probably get the OK to destroy habitat and contribute percentage points to both the the amount of atmospheric carbon and his waste line. I don’t really see why he’s bothering with the scare campaign, political parties, governments, the people, small dogs all seem to have said, “Bugger it, this parties just to much fun to wind up, pass the Jagermeister and Red Bull”. Good on you Clive, sorry MK50, for not being afraid to come out as a totally selfish arsehole.

  8. Patrickb

    “waist”, Freudian slip.

  9. BilB

    I think that

    “Who would not wish to be a billionaire?”

    says it all.

    This “wealth” obesity is every bit a threat to the environmental stability of the planet, a threat to global biodiversity, not to mention the major cause of political instability. If we are talking about treasonous behaviour we can start with Rupert Murcoch’s abuse of facts and truth via his media empire and all of those who choose to follow his path of political and public manipulation for personal gain.

  10. Mercurius

    It’s basic bargaining strategy. Threaten to walk away.

    True, Brian. But it’s only an effective bargaining strategy if it’s a genuine threat. Can these guys — any of them — afford to walk away, really? Just leave all those fields to their competitors?

    This week, the Australian Parliament called the miners’ bluff. The MRRT was passed. Let’s see if Gina, Clive and Twiggy shut up shop, let’s see if a wave of economic devastation sweeps the mining towns. Somehow, I doubt it…

    In all the ‘games’ that have been played, I never see much said about the fact that for miners, (in fact any company), a profits-based tax is preferable to paying a States royalty…wouldn’t you rather pay tax when you’ve actually made a buck, instead of having to pay the piper regardless of whether or not you turn a profit?

    Do you suppose that one of the ‘games’ that has been played here is “no, no, please don’t throw me in the briar patch!” ?

  11. kymbos

    These are interesting stats. I want to know who in the media is going to challenge Abbott with them – remembering that Abbott has said that the MRRT is going to ‘destroy mining in this country’, or words to that effect. All of that hyperbole needs to be played back to him when the sky doesn’t fall. Same with the carbon tax after July.

  12. duncan

    Brian, David,

    you’re the first people to mention the CIA tin-foil hattery.

    Go read Mk 50′s link and get back to the points he raised.

    Maybe, just maybe, this is the sort of thing that triggered Clive’s outburst.

  13. BilB

    Duncan,

    “cost tens of thousands of workers their jobs”

    these jobs are doomed anyway on protecting the atmosphere and the planet grounds. The ANZ Bank has doomed a good chunk of that many jobs on a “protecting their profits” grounds. That argument is completely false.

    Furthermore, reducing the coal industry now is to protect many more jobs in the future, as coal not extracted now and flogged for a pittance will be very much more valuable in the future, for next few generations.

    In 40 years time when Climate Change is turning more of Australia into desert and agriculture is half what it is today, and the iron ore is depleted, the coal is depleted, the CSG is mostly gone, Australia will be the new Nauru, not to mention an economic laughing stock.

    This whole thing smacks of the third generation kids who cannot wait to get their hands on their inheritance and head off to the spending grounds.

  14. Chris

    Mercurius @ 12 – for starters there’s no way they can afford to just walk away from currently running projects – they’ve invested way too much money. Very hard to predict future investment though. New developments are always going to go to the place that has the combination of best risk/return.

    Though as someone linked to the other day the big miners seem very adept at keeping potential exploration areas on ice indefinitely into the future which excludes competitors from getting in even if they wanted to. So they do have some leverage over governments because they have locked vast areas up. That’s something that really needs to be fixed up regardless of whether there is an MRRT or not.

  15. wilful

    in response to the oiginal topic of the post, well what can you say, it’s an economic maxim, rentiers are gonna rent.

  16. wilful

    Oh and I think LP is showing its worst side here, it’s acting a little bit like its opposites over at catalepsy and the like. I don’t see why the actual Greenpeace document (assuming it’s legitimate) isn’t worth discussing (without having to concern ourselves with consiparacies). Or do we close ranks, pretend that all is pure and right on the side of the good, always, 100% of the time?

  17. BilB

    It is only an issue Wilful in that a self interest rich guy took exception to an organisation looking for a way to reduce the impact of his own public opinon distorting propaganda. Where is the surprice that GreenPeace works as a lobby operation in the interests of the environment? They have been doing this for decades. The only new twist here is that some idiot is speculating that reducing Australia’s coal exports would somehow advantage the US.

    BS
    —–
    BS
    —–
    BS
    —–
    BS

    That is how I see it.
    A huge pile of BS!!

  18. Fran Barlow

    I thought that you were on the side of Australian workers, Fran. Many are union members in good standing. Why does Greenpeace want them to lose their jobs?

    We Greens are on the side of the empowerment of working people and the marginalised. That, self-evidently, does not entail supporting every momentary interest of every set of people who count as being workers in good standing. People, including workers, have short term, medium term and long term interests and sometimes serving the short term interest is radically at the expense of long term interests. And in any event, if one set of workers does well at the expense of the mass of workers, then that’s not a good solution either. Along with all Greens I’ve ever met, I favour workers by pursuing policies that promote equity, empowerment and sustainability. My concern is not merely for Australia workers either, but the workers of the entire world. I have no interest at all in privileging the interests of Australian workers over those in any other jurisdiction.

    I don’t accept of course that we want workers to be unemployed. If coal exports from Australia were 10% or 20% lower than now, it’s likely that those workers made redundant would find rewarding work elsewhere. It’s possible that instead of getting richly rewarded for a relatively brief period of their lives, living far from their families, and along with the other FIFOs disrupting communities like those at Moranbah, that they might get jobs that were more sustainable and had better quality of life.

    And all of this is before we even begin to explore the legacy costs of industrial scale mining and coal compbustion on the environment. For the record, the environmental movement would like to see a move away from harvest and combustion of fossil hydrocarbons everywhere, not merely Australia.

  19. Helen

    I’m uncomfortable with the way “jobs” is supposed to always trump objections when discussing the desirability or otherwise of an industry. With stem cell technology getting off the ground, I’m sure there could be heaps of jobs in cutting up newborn babies for parts, but would that make it desirable? Should we mandate the use of horses and carts to preserve the jobs of harness makers?

  20. John D

    Mining companies negotiate with customers, unions and governments all the time. During these negotiations customers will imply they will go somewhere else for their ore, mining companies will imply that they simply can’t afford to supply at that price and there will be a range of bluffs and exaggerations. Then there are the emotional arguments. For example, at the link given @1 Greenpeace talks about

    The Bimblebox nature refuge in the Galilee Basin is home to rare and endangered bird species, as well as colonies of koalas and other threatened ecosystems.

    without mentioning that the endangered bird species is a finch that would range over a wide area in search of food and is most unlikely to depend on the newly discovered national treasure Bimblebox.
    Bluffing and exaggeration is not a problem when it is between experienced negotiators but it is a problem when the media and opposition want to quote the bluffs for political purposes even though it means that the country doesn’t get a fair compensation for the loss of non-renewable resources.
    MK 50 @1 is simply using a classic ploy. Ignore the issue and try and divert the conversation to something your opponents are not comfortable with.

  21. John D

    Clive Palmer knows as well as I do that he is lucky that neither Joh or Charlie Court is premier of Qld. Both of these premiers understood the value of the resources miners wanted to mine and were experts at screwing the miners. For example, WA insisted on a steelworks as the price for access to Koolyanobbing and also insisted on “secondary processing” as part of the deal for the Pilbara mines. In the Pilbara there was no bullshit about governments helping with infrastructure. For example, at Newman, it was the mining company that paid for things like schools. The ultimate cheek occurred when the town was “normalized”. The mine agreed to sell the schools for $1 each – then the government insisted on the miner doing a raft of repairs before the handover.
    Clive probably realizes that Joh would have insisted that Clive pay for the rail system from his new mine to the coast and then insisted that ownership of this rail be transferred to the government.
    It might be a good thing too if there was discussion re what, if anything constitutes treason with respect to mining. I would rank oppositions and media that undermines governments when they are trying to negotiate a better deal much higher on the list than people who are trying to protect the interests of my grandchildren.

  22. John D

    Who thinks it is treasonable if Australia ranking as a desirable place to mine doesn’t rate mention on front pages and nightly news?

  23. wilful

    Who thinks it is treasonable if Australia ranking as a desirable place to mine doesn’t rate mention on front pages and nightly news?

    Erm, lunatics and those with a massive barrow to push? I mean, treasonable? Do you know what that word actually means?

  24. Patrickb

    @12
    I think they’ve already abandoned the “walk away” strategy. In fact I don’t think that they ever articulated it, they had stooges in the media and the LNP do that for them as they knew it if they were called on it they’d have to back down or see the share price plummet. The latest ploy is the court action, an attempt to to portray the MRRT as a removal of their rights, rights that they just don’t have. Still makes for good PR though.

  25. Terangeree

    In response to (1), I link to a two-year-old Possum. Mining directly employs just one in every 100 workers in Australia.

    Manufacturing directly employs eight per cent of workers in Australia, yet we seem to be quite happy about the prospect of losing manufacturing industries and jobs.

    Possum, in addition to the Behre-Dolbear document, shows that miners are not about to pack up and leave the country that is most amenable to a mining presence and where their profit is 13% greater than the average for other countries (and the majority of those profits are, along with the minerals that are mined, exported to countries that don’t have a large marsupial decorating their coats-of-arms).

  26. Patrickb

    @18
    Well I skimmed through it and did a word search and couldn’t find any substantial evidence to support the claim ” that much of their funding is from the USA”. Some funding may be coming from some organisations based in the US but it’s trolling to make that claim and trolling deserves derision.

  27. Terangeree

    Anyway, why is it so bad if Greenpeace get funding from the CIA?

    At least they’ll be well-fed.

  28. Chris

    Terangeree @ 28 – it is true that mining is not directly responsible for a large number of jobs compared to manufacturing. But I did hear on the radio the other day that in SA in the last period of employment measurement that manufacturing had lost 1500 jobs and mining had created 3000 jobs.

    With a high australian dollar manufacturing is in an inevitable decline, so its not surprising that governments (state especially) are very keen on encouraging mining as much as they can to replace blue collar jobs lost elsewhere.

  29. BilB

    Chris, did you miss the bit where the money flowing into the country to fill just a few pockets is distorting the dollar value which in turn suppresses the part of the economy, manufacturing and agriculture, that employs most Australian’s?

    More minerals exploitation is not what the country needs. The economy does far better with a modest amount of mineral extraction and a competitive exchange rate that services all sectors of the economy optimally.

  30. Fran Barlow

    With a high australian dollar manufacturing is in an inevitable decline, so its not surprising that governments (state especially) are very keen on encouraging mining as much as they can to replace blue collar jobs lost elsewhere.

    What is often forgotten though is that in Australia, as in most countries, manufacturing capacity is seen as an existential question — rather like indepndence in food production, energy and so forth. However unrealistic or even pointless it might be, people do like the idea that we are a place that has the skill to make ‘our own’ stuff. The idea of being able, in theory, to give the world the figurative ‘bird’ is a staple of nationalism. In Australia, that concept might be up there with winning gold medals in the Olympics — and perhaps even more important (gasp).

    Since cars are so central to Australian culture, (and one recalls the enormous fanfare when the first Holden rolled off the line all those years ago) it’s not the least bit surprising that car manufacturing has been able to get a handout, especially when one can say that what is mainly prejudicing its position is not inefficiency here but the strength of the dollar — artefacts of high resource prices, the strength of the local banking system and the weakness of the US dollar.

    I’m not a nationalist or a patriot, nor someone who thinks subsidies are in general a good thing. Of course, I’m not much like most people, politically, on most matters. In some respects I’m not even like most Greens, most of whom seem to be at least softly patriotic. It does seem to me though, that if we are to spend money mainly to give people a warm inner glow, then supporting manufacturing would be well down a list of the 1000 worst things to do with public money. And within ‘supporting manufacturing’, supporting the building of cars sounds a lot less objectionable than supporting the building of, say, submarines.

  31. Tim Macknay

    I mean, treasonable? Do you know what that word actually means?

    Any Australian who names one of his projects “China First” has got a lot of nerve bandying words like “treason” around.

  32. Chris

    BilB @ 32 – oh yes I’m well aware that the mining boom is one of the causes of the high australian dollar. But it would really require the cooperation of all the states and federal government to reduce the amount of mining allowed (imagine how controversial that would be!) and in the absence of that, mining jobs, can be replacement jobs for those lost in manufacturing.

    Fran @ 33 – I think the recent federal government support for the car industry would, in the long term, be better spent directly on the workers who would be made redundant. Both in retraining and income support in the form of increased redundancy packages. But the government has an election as well as their union supporters (new jobs may not be as highly unionised) to think about.

  33. alfred venison

    dear editor
    venison here.
    i studied nationalism at sydney uni for ten years: undergraduate & post-graduate study & research. herder to hobsbawm. i’m no nationalist, but the key understated danger to secure & ongoing democratic governance, that i see today, is not so much in the arena of nation states against nation states, but in the arena nation states against corporations. and in this arena i’m a patriot.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  34. wilful

    Fran, I think that neo-classical economics leaves the planet a bit when it gets all huffy that people still want manufacturing. I don’t think that all jobs are infinitely interchangeable and that we would be better off if we just adjusted to a new world where all we were was farmers miners and something something services. Some people, quite a lot of people, find a lot of meaning in manufacturing, it is their niche, their role, their source of satisfaction in life. They don’t want work in services, and there aren’t enough jobs in the mines or the farms. Are we to just ignore them (well yes of course we are, that’s what we always do) and their desires for meaningful work?

    The adjustment costs of such restructures are incredibly painful and massive, and this is to reshape us into what? An economy that will be less resilient, less diverse, that may only last 30 years? Do we really want to be the type of economy that is being officially forced onto us? Is there really no alternative? Certainly that’s the popular view by thinking types, but it deserves more scrutiny and questioning than it gets. How and why does Germany manage a major manufacturing industry? Even Italy makes stuff that people want to buy.

    I’m not saying that the car industry deserves the largess particularly that it gets, when it makes overweight, unattractive cars that nobody wants, and I’m not suggesting tariff walls or other protectionism, but I do get tired of the sniffy condescension (Bernard Keane is typical) whenever support for manufacturing is suggested.

    How this relates to mining is that we are absolutely classically suffering from two very well-known and identified issues:
    1. miners are rentiers. Rentiers first and foremost goal is to extract their value from their host government.
    2. resources curse. We’re managing the economy primarily to benefit the aforesaid rentiers. We’re not going to have much left once the party’s over.

    I sometimes wish I had some shares in the big miners. But I can’t bring myself to do it, and no my super fund doesn’t go there either. Still, cheap TVs.

  35. Fran Barlow

    Chris said:

    I think the recent federal government support for the car industry would, in the long term, be better spent directly on the workers who would be made redundant. Both in retraining and income support in the form of increased redundancy packages. But the government has an election as well as their union supporters (new jobs may not be as highly unionised) to think about.

    All true. However what is actually in the long term interest of people and what people perceive as being in their long-term interests are often sharply at variance. Your course entails serious short-term risks, and at best, prospective benefit if people can acquire new merchantable skills and market them in the resultant labour market in their preferred community. One can easily see why people would worry about that, especially when the value of perhaps their prime asset — the house — may decline if an industry leaves a town. People who are happy where they are and whose children are likewise happy generally aren’t inclined to want to up sticks and leave.

    Wilful

    In a way, you rather reiterated much of what I said most people think. If you get right down to it, the role of government is to ensure as far as it can that people can live in dignity, comfort and security amongst people who respect them and bear them solidarity. If that entails some assistance to manufacturing, or indeed any other apparently commercial activity (and that is a big if) then you’ve got the beginnings of a case.

  36. Mercurius

    @36 ditto to the deer one.

  37. Chris

    Fran @ 38 – yes, I agree completely with what you said. What a lot of the population (me included!) often want is just certainty and that is lot harder for the government to provide now.

    Also to a certain extent the government has made a huge investment in infrastructure so its in their interest that population levels don’t drop in cities. For that reason FIFO arrangements probably look appealing to them as well.

  38. CMMC

    http://jobs.theherald.com.au/

    Employment classifieds in the Newcastle Herald, always new listings in mining and related industry.

  39. Huggybunny

    Chris, the most important aspect of the car industry is not so much the cars it produces but that it makes it economically viable to a support the high tech industries that are so essential for so many other non car industries.
    That stupid fat guy from the liberal party with the smiling face of a total numpty is 100% wrong about shifting the support to tourism etc. He clearly knows nothing at all about industry, industrial development or the need to maintain the basic tools for industrial R&D.
    Huggy

  40. zoot

    Some anecdata:
    I was speaking to a doctor whose practice is in a mining town and I was informed that about a third of the mine workers are on anti-depressants. In this doctor’s opinion about another third of them should be on anti-depressants.
    What is the true cost of these jobs?

  41. Keithy

    @ 34, this is what ties Tony Abbott in knots! This will be the end of Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party will suffer for a century the reputation of looking after overseas investors instead of the citizens of its own country.
    The numbers outlined by Scott Ludlum in the West Australian the other day can’t help the Liberal Party in any paradigm… “In 2009-10, this country yielded mining profits of $51 billion, after tax. By law the mineral resources of Australia are owned by the public, but $42 billion of that profit accrued to foreign investors.” (Ludlum, The West Australian, March 20)

  42. Mk 50

    Brian – what “CIA crap”? I have made no mention of it and I think it’s nonsense anyway.

    I am actually asking a serious question of the Australian left. Well, let’s see if civil questions generate considered, serious, reasoned responses.

    This document is a GREENPEACE business case.

    They want to spend $5,919,000 on a possibly/partially illegal campaign to put Australian workers out of work.

    I guess that’s why an Australian whistleblower inside Greenpeace sent it to the ABC.

    How can anyone, irrespective of political affiliation, think that it’s right for a foreign entity, using foreign money, to cost Australian workers their jobs so that other foreign countries can take over those export markets? Especially when ‘Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom’ will have no effect whatsoever on the Chinese or Indian energy sectors which are implementing massive economic development programs to lift their populations out of poverty? In addition, their governments have explicitly rejected the AGW hypothesis.

    In effect, Greenpeace is ‘working for’ Saudi Aramco and foreign coal companies like Vale. I find this remarkable.

    Take a look at the Greenpeace Whistleblower’s document, the one he/she sent to Mediawatch.

    This is a Greenpeace business plan entitled ‘Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom’.

    Greenpeace is a foreign entity, mostly funded from the USA. In Canada, it is under investigation for accepting money from and working with Saudi Aramco (the Saudi Arabian national oil company) to damage Canadian hydrocarbon industries specifically to assist Saudi Aramco by hobbling a commercial competitor.

    Quote: This proposal … made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Family Fund. Unquote (Greenpeace: Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom p.2).
    So that’s funding from very rich ‘old money’ Americans, is it not? If the AEF received funding from a US source, this would not be well regarded by many in the Australian left.

    The report aims to prevent “…coal supplies for a new generation of coal power stations in India, …” for example(Greenpeace: Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom p.3).
    So wealthy Americans want to keep Indians poor.
    Where’s the fairness in that?
    Why should Australians agree with that?

    And it won’t work anyway. Multinats are opening enormous new coal projects in Mongolia and Africa. The Brazilian company Vale has just built a class of huge new bulk carriers so that their coal can compete on the Chinese market with Australian coal. Stopping the Australian coal export boom will not stop one Indian or Chinese coal fired power station from being built. It will just put Australians out of work for nothing. The same companies will supply the coal, just from Africa, Brazil, the USA, Russia and Mongolia. The Saudis and Qataris will supply the gas.

    The Greenpeace strategy – effectively on behalf of foreign coal companies – is laid out clearly. See (Greenpeace: Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom p.5). They intend to be “… lodging legal challenges…” which will “…require significant investment in legal capacity.” And budget $1,350,000 for litigation. Of this, “private donors” have given $500,000 and pledged $100,000”

    Who are these rich people or foreign companies giving Greenpeace $600,000 to put Australians out of work?

    Is there not the least bit of curiosity as to this matter?
    As to who is funding Greenpeace and why?
    As to how much of this money comes from foreign coal and gas companies?

    I’ll await any responses.

  43. Keithy

    @32, economic exchange takes place when two parties see value in the exchange.

    I.E. There’s good deals and bad deals!

  44. Mk 50

    Oh, in answer to the comment above about FiFo vs company towns.

    Everyone prefers the idea of company towns. Regrettably, they were priced out of existence by the fringe benefits tax. FBT placed huge costs on the town itself, then added more annual costs for the subsidised use of the houses by the workers.

    it has really stunted regional development.

    I recently toured Gladstone and saw that origin has just built and opened a new suburban development there. They are selling the houses (to avoid FBT – no choice) to their people.

  45. Terangeree

    @ 47:

    In effect, Greenpeace is ‘working for’ Saudi Aramco and foreign coal companies like Vale.

    I think you’ll find that most coal mining companies operating in Australia are substantially or completely foreign-owned. Xstrata is not and Australian company. Neither is Rio Tinto, Idemitsu, Peabody, Mitsubishi, or Anglo-American Coal.

    Neither, strangely enough, is Mitsui Group.

    If the Greenpeace campaign were to be successful, it wouldn’t have a major effect on the abovementioned companies, who would merely move their coal-mining activities to other places.

    The railways — including my employer — that rely to a large extent on moving coal will have a short sharp shock. But coal hoppers can be converted to carry grain, and there is increasing international interest in investing in food production instead of mineral production.

    The Rockefeller Family Fund funds many different projects with their philanthropic grants. They don’t seem to be quite as dæmonic as you would like others to think.

  46. Terangeree

    “…is not and Australian…” should read:

    “… is not an Australian…”

  47. Tim Dymond

    For my sins I took the MK 50 challenge and read the Greenpeace document. On page three under ‘need’ it says:

    If the industry expands unchecked, it will undermine efforts to curtail coal exports from the United States, will ensure coal supplies for a new generation of coal power stations in India, and will have devastating consequences for the global climate.

    Far from benefiting the US industry – the strategy assumes that it will be easier to cut back American coal if we cut back Australian coal.

    Mining companies think in the same terms. Their real reason for opposing the RSPT was not that it would make other countries competitive against Australia, it was that other countries would see that if we can tax resource profits they can tax them too.

  48. Tim Dymond

    And just to show you I read to the end, on page 11 it says about Field Organising:

    Theory of change:
    We cannot win major ground in the fight against coal without building a substantially more powerful social movement than currently exists. Organizing and supporting communities to campaign effectively is the best way to leverage the investment ofresources for maximum effect in building a powerful movement.

    A social movement implies that large numbers of people are convinced that a bigger coal industry is bad for their interests. When the majority of Australians decided they wanted to shut down the whaling industry were they engaged in treason in the service of Japan? Accusations of Treason are also an industry trick: j’accuse MK50.

  49. Mk 50

    I really thought it important that people should know how Australia is seen as a destination for mining investment by an outfit that makes it their business to assess such conditions around the world.

    And fair enough: it’s an extremely competitive world out there competing for the limited pool of investment capital.

    our comparative advantage rests on a couple of things only, proximity to market (a nice change from the investment environment of the 1920s, which the current world bears increasing resemblance to), our sovereign risk being low, and a stable and reasonable financial system.

    I am surprised by some popular views that Australia is the ‘natural’ place to invest. I was discussing this with INPEX re their Ichthys LNG project. The driver there is political-economic. Australia is one of (IIRC) three jurisdictions where the resource can be ‘purchased’ entirely under a royalty regime. Most other nations have a national oil and gas company which ‘owns’ all resources in class. That’s why INPEX invested ~$20Bn in ICHTHYS (they are mostly owned by Japanese national and prefecture government entities and are implementing Japan’s 100-year national energy baseload security plan).

    profits on these LNG arrangements are quite modest for the investment as the capital costs are very high, and it takes 5-8 years to see the first molecule produced.

    T@51 has spotted the fundamental issue I have with the Greenpeace plan; even if one accepts the AGW hypothesis (which I think is both risible and disproven – I say that just so people know where I stand), their plan, if successful, will achieve nothing.

    The companies will simply mine coal and feed the Chinese and energy markets from other sources.

    FYI, a contact at Ministerio de Minas e Energia has confirmed that they are watching this very closely and that they really want Greenpeace to succeed. We are Vale’s primary competitor for the Chinese steaming coal market and we just won that competition.

  50. BilB

    MK50,

    “The companies will simply mine coal and feed the Chinese and energy markets from other sources.”

    Let’s hope that they do.

  51. Doug Evans

    MK50

    How can anyone, irrespective of political affiliation, think that it’s right for a foreign entity, using foreign money, to cost Australian workers their jobs so that other foreign countries can take over those export markets?

    A bit hesitant to jump into this one but one of the myths about the Australian mining industry is the claim that it is a big employer.

    1. Mining employs only 1.9 per cent of Australian workers. The latest ABS figures show total mining employment of 217,100 at April 2011 with only 51,900 in coal. So about 0.05% of the Australian workforce is directly employed by the coal mining industry.
    In fact, mining is a smaller employer than the gambling industry, and despite public perceptions that the manufacturing industry is in steep decline, the manufacturing industry in Australia actually employs around five times as many people as the mining industry.

    2. The mining industry has been a very minor contributor to growth in Australian employment the mining industry has played a very small role in the growth in employment in Australia over the past seven years. In fact, the increase in employment in the mining industry accounts for only 7 per cent of total employment creation over that period.

    3. Indirect employment related to mining is often cited to inflate mining’s importance as an employer. However all sectors of the economy create indirect employment at about the same rate as each other. The mining industry looks significantly larger when the sum of direct and indirect jobs in the mining industry is compared with only the direct jobs in other industries. Once the indirect job creation of all other industries is taken into account, mining once again returns to being a very small employer in Australia.

    Winding back the expansion of the coal industry which is all Greenpeace is talking about is not the same as shutting it down which the RIGHT in both politics and the media were accusing Greenpeace of plotting. The Australian economy regularly accommodates much larger shifts in employment than that implied by the Greenpeace plan.

    If I do say so myself I reckon I wrote a fair summary of this issue here.

  52. Justin

    MK@50, I’m guessing you think climate change is a conspiracy too?

  53. Justin

    I read the GP strategic/funding proposal the other day. It’s actually very impressive. I’m glad to see my monthly donations being spent on such high quality, professional activist work.

  54. Terangeree

    Mk 40+10 @47 wrote thus about verdant peace:

    They want to spend $5,919,000 on a possibly/partially illegal campaign to put Australian workers out of work.

    Unlike Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto, which is spending about 10 times as much on a programme to remove workers from their minesites.

  55. Joe

    I think that natural resources are too cheap. We’ve got this consumer based society, where people have too much stuff, you can buy a cotton shirt for a couple of dollars, computer monitors, full of minerals are $150. So, we buy a new one every year and the old one lands at the tip. It’s stupid.

    An here we are concentrating on how we’re so competitive at mining. This is only the beginning of the product lifecycle! Birth should be harder. If Australia was not run by such prehistoric bovines like Clive Palmer, we’d leave the stuff in the ground for another hundred years. Now, that’d be investing in the future– might even allow a bit of the old Australian ingenuity to shine into the present dark space, which used to be known as manufacturing.

    Yeah, but we’ve got morons like Abbott and Hockey to choose from! The liberal party are like drunken people staggering across the Western Distributor, oblivious of the traffic, because they’ve seen a cigarette butt in the opposite gutter. And then it’ll be off to look for the next cheapest wine vendor etc.

    And we call this choice? The Westminster system doesn’t work anymore– it’s not creative enough, it’s not responsive enough, it’s not stable enough, it’s too easily controlled– we need at least three parties. Voters should be looking at Abbott and then looking at two other credible options and thinking, is this guy serious?

    Anyway, hope you don’t mind taking that as a comment, Brian!

  56. Joe

    The next cheapest wine vendor might the Kirribilli Hotel, btw. ;)

  57. Mk 50

    Doug Evans@57

    A bit hesitant to jump into this one but one of the myths about the Australian mining industry is the claim that it is a big employer.

    1. Mining employs only 1.9 per cent of Australian workers. The latest ABS figures show total mining employment of 217,100 at April 2011 with only 51,900 in coal. So about 0.05% of the Australian workforce is directly employed by the coal mining industry.
    In fact, mining is a smaller employer than the gambling industry, and despite public perceptions that the manufacturing industry is in steep decline, the manufacturing industry in Australia actually employs around five times as many people as the mining industry.

    There is some interesting work to be done on that linkage. I can tell you what I see in places like central QLD and the Pilbara, and that’s major expansion in everything local, service sector, road and civil infrastructure construction, boat and port operations, aviation – everything. Australia’s third biggest airline (Alliance) is entirely a FiFo operator and it employs something like 400-500 people in Brisbane alone.

    SO it might not have much of an impact in, say, Melbourne, but the impact in Brisbane is significant and in central QLD its enormous, and it’s long term there. We’ll still be exporting LNG from central QLD in a century.

    We are also wasting employment opportunities. This is the perfect opportunity to re-establish a maritime industry based on LNG tanker crews. Wasting that opportunity has been a bipartisan federal failure.

    We are also wasting what Woodside described to me as a ‘civilisational’ opportunity. Woodside (and Apache, BHPB, INPEX and a raft of others) would love to see a major city in the 1-2 million class developed in the NW. perth does not want such a rival and knocking that on the head has been another bipartisan failure.

    I think that the Gladstone-Rockhampton-Biloela triangle will develop into a city-complex in the 0.5-1M class by mid century. The councils there are certainly looking at that.

    Justin@58. Per my statement above. CC ‘a conspiracy’? No, the climate always changes – ask any geologist. That’s what it climate does, it’s a complex system (go read about complex systems analysis at the Sante Fe Institute). We are in an interglacial now and these are short-lived: another ice age is due. If you actually mean the AGW hypothesis, the models are proven incorrect, the predictions are demonstrably incorrect, so the hypothesis is demonstrably false. Of course, that has nothing to do with the realities of CC during an interglacial.

    I am intrigued by the idea that one can consider it ‘money well spent’ when the outcome aimed for will result on zero impact on tonnages of coal actually mined, and the loss of Australian jobs.

    I must admit I don’t understand the philosophical basis underpinning that mindset. I note that Fran has expressed a view on that above – but I can see no logic or philosophical coherence in her view.

  58. BilB

    Mk50,
    “No, the climate always changes – ask any geologist”

    You need to talk to those same geologists about ….rate of change… .

    If your car is heading for a solid brick wall at speed, but you see the wall in time and apply the breaks to deliver a deceleration that your body and the car can comfortably take, then you will survive. If, however, you fail to apply the breaks or choose not to apply the breaks, then the dramatic deceleration …..rate of change….when you hit the wall will kill you. That is the situation that we are in with climate change. The current rate of change in geological time frames is the equivalent of smashing into a great speed, and our civilisation will not survive the crash unless we apply the brakes 20 years ago.

    Some individuals will survive the environmental crash just decades ahead, but our civilisation and everything that you imagine or aspire to achieve will not. I suggest that you talk to your geologists about what life on earth is like during global hot spells and how that plays out for life and bio diversity, particularly highly specialised life as we humans have made ourselves.

  59. BilB

    Mk50

    To aid you in your studies I have just done some research.

    My body can easily withstand hitting a brick wall at 2 metres per second, under some circumstances it sould even be considered to be “fun”.
    Current pace of climate temperature change is .3 degrees C per decade, which will deliver a 6 degree C change over 20 decades unless the that pace of change increases.

    By some accounts this current pace or rate of change is as much as 100 times greater as the rate of change in the geological past. So this would equate to my body hitting the brick wall at 300 metres per second, co-incidentally the speed of sound.

    To exacerbate nature’s inability to adapt to the process of change, human acitivity: building of cities; agriculture; mining activity; etc, have acted to diminish the interconnectivity of bio diverse systems meaning that a smooth transition is no longer possible for most natural species. ie animals and vegetation cannot migrate naturally with changing temperatures and precipitation as humans have severed the connection paths in most areas of the globe. This means that the degree of change for biodiversity is likely to be more like a massive meteor hitting the Earth than a simple cyclic environmental change as human induced climate change gets into full swing.

    There are endless links to scientific research on the subject. Most are behind the paywalls of profit taking corporations, so you will have to pay for your education.

  60. Doug Evans

    MK50
    I know this is hopeless as your links to the mining industry are apparently close – just what are they MK50 – wanna come clean with us? Anyone curious about what I stand for and where I’m coming from can easily check online but what vested interest lies behind your position?
    Anyway nothing you said in your comment contradicts these FACTS:
    1. Mining is a SMALL employer of Australian labor and coal mining, the target of Greenpeace’s strategy paper is miniscule. Twenty times more Australians are employed in Australia’s beleaguered manufacturing sector as in coal mining.
    2. Mining has contributed almost nothing to Australian jobs growth in the last decade and has warned that even in the mining industry’s best case growth scenario will not absorb any significant part of the unemployment created elsewhere in Australia largely as a consequence of the mining boom.
    3. Talk about indirect employment created by the mining boom (as in your reference to Australia’s third biggest airline) does not conceal the fact that all sectors of industry create indirect employment in about the same ratio and when ‘apples are compared to apples’ so to speak the indirect employment created by Australian mining remains small. It seems that in your mind a few hundred jobs created by FiFo in Brisbane are far more significant than tens of thousands of industry jobs threatened by our two speed economy in the parts of Australia where almost everyone lives.
    4. As I’m sure you know, but choose not to say, the Greenpeace proposal was intended to limit further expansion of the coal mining industry so to the extent that it would be successfully implemented while new jobs would not be created existing jobs are not threatened by the measures in the document.
    5. As I’m sure you know but choose not to discuss, greenhouse gas emissions from the incredible proposed expansion of Australian fossil fuel export industries far outweigh any savings achieved by the Gillard government’s hard-won Clean Energy Futures legislation. Anyone interested in this assertion might look here or here.

    You claim:

    We’ll still be exporting LNG from central QLD in a century.

    I say. Wanna bet? Anyone interested in why I would say this might like to look here or here or here.

  61. Doug Evans

    MK50
    You say:

    ‘Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom’ will have no effect whatsoever on the Chinese or Indian energy sectors which are implementing massive economic development programs to lift their populations out of poverty? In addition, their governments have explicitly rejected the AGW hypothesis.

    Hmm – is that so?

    As the executive director of Tata Power told Bloomberg in an interview just yesterday, coal projects are becoming impossible to build, and the company will favour wind and solar over coal. “Why would anyone want to invest at this stage in a coal project?” he asked. This from the largest private power producer in what is supposed to be Australia’s biggest market.

    and of course

    In the “450 scenario” painted by the IEA economists, the construction of new coal-fired power stations is effectively brought to a halt by 2017, and the global share of coal-fired power generation plunges from 41 per cent to 15 per cent by 2035, with more than 600GW of coal-fired plants shut down. China, once the biggest customer of Australian thermal coal, ceases to become an importer of any coal. India becomes its biggest customer.

    and let’s not forget:

    But then there is the technology factor. In the last three months, the governments of India, China and the US have all predicted that the cost of utility-scale solar will fall below that of either coal-fired or gas-fired generation by the end of the decade. In India, because of its reliance on costly imports and poor infrastructure, it could come as early as 2016.

    and this is also interesting:

    As the executive director of Tata Power told Bloomberg in an interview just yesterday, coal projects are becoming impossible to build, and the company will favour wind and solar over coal. “Why would anyone want to invest at this stage in a coal project?” he asked. This from the largest private power producer in what is supposed to be Australia’s biggest market.

    All this and much more to be found here.
    Sorry for all the block quotes but who can say it better than Giles Parkinson.

  62. Doug Evans

    Oops. Sorry for the repeat quote!

  63. alfred venison

    Doug Evans
    dude: it ended like a symphony, with a repeat of the first theme, just before the coda. well done.
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  64. BilB

    For those who think that renewables technology is hard and an eyesore have a look at the oil reality as it becomes ever harder to extract

  65. David Irving (no relation)

    Folks, mk50 upthread a ways admitted to believing that AGW is both risible and disproven (I think those are his exact words, but I can’t be bothered checking.)

    In other words, he has admitted he’s either a liar, or a fool who’s immune to facts and reason. It’s a waste of time and effort engaging with him.

  66. Mk 50

    Bilb@64

    I suggest that you talk to your geologists about what life on earth is like during global hot spells and how that plays out for life and bio diversity, particularly highly specialised life as we humans have made ourselves.

    I have, turns out that biodiversity increases logarithmically. Humans exist happily in biomes ranging from pitiless desert to arctic waste to climax rainforest to the oceanic universe of the Polynesians. This is specialised?

    DE@66

    greenhouse gas emissions from the incredible proposed expansion of Australian fossil fuel export industries far outweigh any savings achieved by the Gillard government’s hard-won Clean Energy Futures legislation.

    So what? There is no linear link between CO2 ppmv and global temperature.
    As for the rest of your argument, are you not conceding that the coal is going to be mined and burned anyway? So if the effect of the Greenpeace plan is simply to cost Australians those jobs, deny the country that income, and have no other effect, how can their plan be supported by anyone?

    DE@67
    Tata is not the Indian government. Check their white paper on the subject, and what both governments said at Copenhagen. Currently, the Indians are looking at 552 proposed projects representing 604,203 MW of capacity and an estimated 3.57 billion tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions. This is not the action of a country disinterested in coal fired power generation.

    While the ongoing collapse of the hype around the AGW hypothesis is interesting, it’s not the topic here.

    Does anyone have a substantive view on Greenpeace’s intent to damage the Australian economy and cost Australian jobs even if their actions will have no impact on what the remaining AGW hypothesis supporters consider important?

    Their action seems futile to me. All damage for Australia and zero gain even if one still believes the AGW hypothesis.

    Does anyone support that, if so, on what philosophical basis?

    What’s the basis for supporting damage the country to no gain?

  67. BilB

    Mk50,

    As global temperatures rise from where we are today by another 5 degrees C over the period of several hundred years or less

    “turns out that biodiversity increases logarithmically”

    ??? not according to the studies that I have read, and certainly not according to all of the evidence of today’s reality.

    You are having your self on, Mk50, and in that you are at least consistent.

  68. BilB

    Mk50,

    While

    “the AGW hypothesis is interesting, it’s not the topic here” ??

    That is exactly the issue, Mk50, or rather the opposite.

    Reducing CO2 emissions is the wish of the Australian people, and therefore government policy as evidenced in our new Carbon Pricing legislation.

    In this GreenPeace, in their efforts to highlight the immense contradition between coal mining expansion and CO2 emissions reduction, are acting in the interests of all Australians and aiding government policy.

    With that understanding the already ludicrous claim that GreenPeace’s policy document is “treasonous”, is even more assinine.

  69. alfred venison

    dear editor
    its possible a miner is playing games in “the games miners play” thread.
    a.v.

  70. Ootz

    Very likely Alfred, specially if said miner is aware that listed companies own more fossil fuels than can be burned between now and 2050 if we are to have an 80% chance of staying within the two-degree Celsius limit. Link

    So it is clear as daylight the game plan is delay, delay, delay, delay ….delay and when that game is up, then comes the trump card RANSOM. We want X amount of compensation or ……..

    It is the ultimate game of chicken and Russian Roulette rolled together. MK50′s charade that gets widely sprouted around about CC has always happened … no linear relation with CO2 and what ever …. Geologist know … the moon is made of cheese, is just pokerfaced waffle. Any serious miner would have his/her science down pat and a profound understanding of risk management otherwise they would not be in that business on that scale. These characters are either sick or criminals and should be treated accordingly.

  71. Fran Barlow

    While the ongoing collapse of the hype around the AGW hypothesis is interesting …

    For me, this was the most amusing of the claims, measured both in terms of nonsense per word uttered and distance from observable reality of said nonsense.

  72. Ootz

    Come to think of it, the miners are probably only the shopfront lackeys of the real bastards. Mining would not work without mega finance. The same mob that brought us the GFC is trying desperately to stall the inevitable in order to save their bacon or should I say score another bail out!

    So who lost money in the last GFC. Now check what funds your Super contribution gets lumped into. If any of it is going into coal you are being a mug, time to seek out ethical funds.

  73. rumrebellious

    Well, the title of this post couldn’t be more apt.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/palmer-does-not-regret-cia-claims-20120326-1vu80.html

    “It took a great lot of attention off some of the negative aspects of the election. That was a very good thing,” he said.

    “It’s wonderful that all of you could play a small role in having Campbell Newman elected as premier of Queensland, so well done, you all deserve a round of applause.”

    Asked if he had made up the claims, Mr Palmer told reporters he did not think the CIA was involved with the Greens or Greenpeace as he had previously suggested.

    “That’s something I wouldn’t say at this stage,” he said.

    “A mistake doesn’t become an error until you refuse to correct it, so I’m still thinking about that one.

    “But let me just say I don’t regret having made that statement.”

  74. zorronsky

    So he’s not “correcting it” as he doesn’t regret it, yet admits he wasn’t truthful…or something. Seems his head is rapidly achieving the dimensions of his corporation.

  75. Ootz

    Interesting piece by Tim Colebatch on he mining boom (Age), based on an analysis by Frank Gelber, director of Sydney economic consultants BIS Shrapnel.Irish Nightmare Prepare,

    … if mining investment is booming by 50 per cent a year, and the economy’s growth is held to slightly above trend, that means other sectors of the economy have to shrink to make way for it. Long-established businesses are dying, factories closing, jobs going overseas – all to accommodate a boom that is only temporary and will give way to a bust.

    He goes on with some outlines of timelines and repercussions to be expected. Essentially in the article Gelber is laying out what every pisshead knows, the bigger and harder you party, the more ….
    Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to a bit of song and dance with the odd tipple. However, the scale of how we are being ripped off and shat on for the sake of free grog and a one night stand is something else!

    It is sick the whole thing is really really sick.