News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Rio Tinto ‘workshopped’ Warkworth coal plan with Planning Department, say Greens; AGL bets on coal with MacGen buy; and Africa drives Australia’s new $1.5 trillion resource bonanza.

Lou Caruana

Rio Tinto ‘workshopped’ Warkworth coal plan with Planning Department, say Greens

Greens MP David Shoebridge has accused Rio Tinto of being able to respond within days of receiving environmental requirements for its Warkworth coalmine expansion plan because of “workshopping” with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

Shoebridge said “whistleblowers” told him Rio was “basically ready to go to the printers” as soon as the miner received the requirements for its Warkworth and Mount Thorley continuation projects from the Director-General of Planning on May 22.

Rio submitted its response on June 15 in the form of two 400-plus page environmental impact reports along with 33 attached consultants’ reports running into the thousands of pages.

AGL bets on coal with MacGen buy

Energy utility AGL has signalled that it expects coal-fired power stations will be the winners from the changing dynamics in the national electricity market as the string of gas export projects in Queensland start up over the next 18 months or so, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Along with ending Queensland exporting electricity south of the border, it could also see NSW ship electricity north, while also resulting in some gas-fired power stations being shut down.

AGL bought Victoria’s Loy Yang A power station in 2012 and on Wednesday agreed to pay the NSW government $1.5 billion for the largest power company in the national electricity market, Macquarie Generation.

Africa drives Australia’s new $1.5tn resource bonanza

Australian mining companies found up to four times as much new resource wealth offshore in the past five years as they did at home, demonstrating the internationalisation of the industry, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The first study of the industry’s footprint in the developing world found ASX-listed companies made discoveries in Africa, Asia and Latin America now valued at $1.47 trillion compared with $555 billion in Australia.

The study’s authors, SNL Metals and Mining, said if discoveries in North America and Europe were added, the ratio of foreign to domestic reserve announcements would be about four times.

Africa dominates the list with discoveries valued at $686 billion at current commodities prices but more than $900 billion at the prices that prevailed at the time of announcement over the past five years.