News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Australia’s coal sector defies all comers to keep on mining; Cabinet rounds on ‘bizarre’ ANU; and MUA organises Dampier strike.

Lou Caruana

Australia's coal sector defies all comers to keep on mining

Australian coal output is hitting record highs and producers are pressing on with plans to open new mines, defying prices at five-year lows, environmental opposition and trade restrictions imposed by some of the country’s most important foreign buyers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Glencore plc, one of Australia’s biggest miners, estimates up to a third of Australia’s coal sector is running at a loss, yet collieries are flooding countries such as China and Japan with million of tonnes of coking coal used to make steel and thermal coal to generate power.

Cabinet rounds on ‘bizarre’ ANU

Prime Minister Tony Abbott strongly backed the coal and gas industries and accused Australian National University of “unnecessary posturing” as Cabinet pressure intensified on the institution, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“Frankly, I think that kind of decision lets down the people who want these investors, who want these organisations, to get the best possible return,” he said.

ANU said 10 days ago it would cull oil and gas companies Santos and Oil Search from its $1 billion investment portfolio along with five producers of metals and minerals used in everyday products such as bathroom sanitary-ware and mobile phones.

MUA organises Dampier strike

Members of the militant Maritime Union of Australia plan to strike at Dampier in northern Western Australia in a protracted dispute with Mermaid Marine that could hit Chevron’s $US54 billion Gorgon project, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The union, which withdrew a proposed 10-day strike in August, said 65 stevedores would strike for five consecutive 24-hour periods from Thursday.

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