The coal industry has come a long way

Prof Bruce Hebblewhite: "The coal industry certainly has been around in this country for a long time, right back from early days of settlement there was coal mining going on, in fact exports from Newcastle, in fact about 1797 was the first export out of Newcastle and yes over a couple of hundred years it probably didn’t have a very good reputation and probably deservedly so.  Coal mining is certainly something that is large and ongoing in this part of the world, especially on the eastern sea board of Australia, particularly Queensland and New South Wales.  Again mining practices from the point of view of the actual extraction of coal from the ground both underground and open cut, has come a long way in terms of safety.  In terms of responsibility on mine sites environmental responsibility it’s a really significant performer, much more so dare I say than a lot of other industry sectors.  And much more so than a lot of agricultural sectors.  The companies, the industry, employs environmental scientists as part and parcel of their operation, they certainly take environmental responsibilities very seriously.  Issues such as dust, issues such as water discharge, all those extremely well managed nowadays, it is still coal that they’re mining and therefore it generates CO2 in it’s uses, no walking away from that.  Although again it’s used all round the world in different forms and it’s not just used for power generation, obviously used for steel making, so people tend to think of power generation as the only use of coal and forget about the role of coal in steel making.  So overall it’s, I believe it’s come a long way and it’s got a high level of responsibility in how it goes about practice and again inevitably the contribution it makes back to the community around it."

Categories: Coal in Australia, Industry
Author: Prof. Bruce Hebblewhite
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