Miner urged to reconsider coal plans

Australian mining company, Mayur Resources, has been asked to thoroughly reconsider its plans to introduce a coal industry in Papua New Guinea.

The request was made in an open letter by the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC) of Jabem District, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) and Jubilee Australia Research Centre.

Addressed to incoming directors, Charles Fear and Chris Indermaur, the civil society organisations (CSOs) asked that Mayur Resources includes reassessment of its planned mining and coal-fired power projects in PNG in its upcoming strategic review.

“These projects represent an attempt to introduce a coal industry... into a country that currently exists without one and into a world that does not need more coal dug up for consumption, driving climate change,” the CSOs wrote.

“Papua New Guineans are already facing harsh effects of the climate crisis including droughts, floods and rising sea levels. These are forecast to only get worse, due in large part to coal developments like the one Mayur Resources has planned for Lae.

“Papua New Guinea does not need a coal industry to meet its energy needs. The country... is developing more hydropower plants. It is also developing its first biomass and solar plants. All of these are better options for improving supply to the grid than coal.

“As a company that will receive tax concessions from Papua New Guinea for the next ten years, it would be unfair for Mayur Resources to move forward with a project that generates energy in the worst possible way for the country.”

The letter comes just days after PNG’s Prime Minister, James Marape, called for greater action on climate change at the United Nations General Assembly.

“It is time the big carbon emitters of planet Earth own up and apologise to the small island states and all other victims of climate change,” the PM said, adding that people were living in fear and uncertainty as they watched sea levels rise and “the structures that their lives are built upon slip away”.

“I make a call for all of us, especially to the big carbon-emitting nations who are now enjoying their national economic transformations through industrialisation, to pause, think and take responsibility to save our planet.”

Commenting on PM Marape’s speech, Yabem president, Rev Yasam Aiwara, said: “If Prime Minister James Marape is serious with his slogan and various statements and approaches to proclaim PNG as a Christian black nation; then we have to start practicing what we are preaching as responsible Christians guided by the holy scriptures to save our planet from global warming.

“The Bible instructs Christians to be good stewards of the whole world, not just Papua New Guinea.

“So adhere to the many international agreements that we have agreed on, even though the amount of carbon PNG as a small nation would emit would only be a fraction of what other major industrialised nations have been emitting.

“Being Christians, we cannot just point fingers but also be responsible and do our part locally for a global cause.

“I call on the Prime Minister to stand with us and say no to any coal project in PNG.”

(The CSEB Hasdeo Power Plant is one of the most polluting thermal power plants in the city of Korba in India. Picture: Greenpeace)

Press Release