LAST MONTH SAW SOME OF OUR FEDERAL MP’S VISIT JAPAN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VITAL ROLE AUSTRALIAN COAL PLAYS IN PROVIDING ENERGY SECURITY AND SUPPORTING JAPAN’S ADVANCED STEEL INDUSTRY.
The visit was organised by our coal industry through the COAL21 Fund and was led by former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and current Whitehaven Coal Chairman Mark Vaile.
The trip included inspections of one of the world’s most efficient coal-fired power stations – JPower’s Isogo plant – and the large-scale Kimitsu steel plant operated by Nippon Steel.
THE PRIORITIES OF THE MISSION INCLUDED UNDERSTANDING THE INTEGRAL ROLE OF AUSTRALIAN COAL IN JAPAN, HOW ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY IS IMPROVING EFFICIENCY AND DEVELOPING A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF ENERGY POLICY FROM ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S KEY TRADING PARTNERS AND THE WORLD’S THIRD-LARGEST ECONOMY.
Significant policy discussions also took place with counterpart organisations and government agencies including lead energy policy department, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Australian coal is integral to Japan’s energy supply and economy, with our thermal (energy) coal representing 73% of imports and coking (steel-making) coal comprising 47% of imports.
Japanese officials emphasised our enduring coal trade links, underpinned by reliability of supply and the premium quality of Australian coal. They especially noted the importance of high quality thermal coal from the Hunter Valley and Gunnedah basins, which is helping to power one of the world’s leading economies.
FEDERAL MPS ON THE TOUR INCLUDING CRAIG KELLY, TIM WILSON, MILTON DICK, MEMBER FOR PATERSON MERYL SWANSON, GEORGE CHRISTENSEN AND JASON FALINSKI WERE UNANIMOUS IN THEIR VIEW THAT OUR COAL TRADE NEEDS TO CONTINUE AND GROW, ASSISTED BY STRONG POLICY SUPPORT IN AUSTRALIA.
Mr Vaile said the visit was constructive, focusing on coal supply issues, technology advancements and approaches needed to establish a first-class energy system.
“The Australian delegation was impressed with the investment and uptake of new low-emission coal technologies as well as the commitment by Japanese policy makers and industry to a strong energy policy with coal as its cornerstone,” Mr Vaile said.
Japan is Australia’s largest coal customer at $16.5 billion in 2017 and our longest-term coal export partner with the trade spanning more than 60 years. With Australia’s coal exports reaching a record high of $60.1 billion in 2017/18, our coal trade with Japan is economically and strategically important to both nations.
Japan is not only a coal customer but is a leading power equipment manufacturer providing world leading high efficiency low emission (HELE) plants and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technologies. Japanese power companies have plans to build another 30 HELE coal plants.
@ The Coalface hopes that the MP visit will help our government see the benefits of building HELE coal plants in Australia and especially right here in the Hunter.