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Carbon tax demise helps miners breathe easier

Tuesday, 16th July, 2013

Perilya CEO Paul Arndt Perilya CEO Paul Arndt

By Kurtis J Eichler

Mining company Perilya has come out in support of the federal government’s planned Emission Trading Scheme after news the carbon tax is being given the chop.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this week is set to announce the death of the controversial and short-lived carbon tax, spearheading an early move to an Emissions Trading Scheme next July.

The carbon tax currently sees emitters paying a fixed price of $24 per tonne which will be replaced with a floating price of between $6 and $10 per tonne.

The changes will also slash power bills for struggling families by up to $150. 

Yesterday Perilya CEO Paul Arndt supported the plans to dump the carbon pricing scheme early and move to an ETS.

“Anything that lowers our cost is good but you must remember this is the government that brought in the carbon tax,” Mr Arndt said.

“Under a Liberal government there would be no carbon tax and there would be even more of a reduction.”

He said Julia Gillard’s masterpiece impacted the company’s ability to make a profit and put its Broken Hill operations “at risk”.

“Well we are constantly striving to reduce costs so our Broken Hill operations have an ongoing viability.”

The carbon tax - introduced in July 2012 - was also costing Chinese-owned mining company Perilya $3.5 million per year. Including the Renewable Energy Target, that brings the cost to $5.5 million.

Mr Arndt said despite researching showing a drop in carbon emitted since the carbon scheme was introduced, it had very few benefits.

Federal government data in January showed emissions dropped 8.6 per cent in the electricity sector in the first six months of the scheme.

“That is much more to do with the business cycle,” he said. 

“I’m not an expert about this but there are different numbers around that would suggest if a business goes out of business then it’s not going to generate any carbon.

“I think it’s disingenuous to suggest that figure is due to the carbon tax.”

CBH Resources chief operating officer Visko Sulicich welcomed the news and said any reduction in carbon pricing would save the company money.

The carbon tax was expected to take $7 million over the next three years from CBH between its Broken Hill and Cobar operations.

He called then PM Julia Gillard’s attack on big polluters as a tax on an “invisible gas”.

“You can’t see carbon,” Mr Sulicich told the BDT “and we can’t pass that cost on to anyone.”

“What it’s doing is putting additional pressure on our operations. 

“It’s just an additional cost that is very difficult to absorb and with current metal prices it is very difficult, those additional costs are making it hard.

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