Australia Becomes First Nation to Eliminate Carbon Tax
In a landmark decision Australia has become the first nation in the world to repeal the carbon tax which puts a price on greenhouse-gas emissions. The news comes after the initial repeal was blocked by the senate earlier this year.
The Senate voted 39 to 32 to eliminate the 23.45 tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide that was introduced by Labor government Prime Minister Julia Gillard in July 2012.
After the announcement, Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that he had achieved its objective of “axing the toxic tax.” Abbott also reiterated the government could still find support for its plan to pay polluters to reduce their emissions.
"We are a government which absolutely appreciates that we have only got one planet and we should pass it on to our children and grandchildren in at least as good shape as we found it," Abbott said.
"So we are a conservationist government and we will do what we think is the sensible thing to try to bring emissions down."
News of the repeal was welcomed by the NSW Minerals Council, the Queensland Resources Council, and the Australian Mines and Metals Association.
“Repeal of the carbon tax is good news for the Queensland economy,” QRC CEO Michael Roche said.
Tony Abbott, who made repealing the tax a central pledge of his campaign, characterized the revoked measure as a “useless destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living and which didn’t actually help the environment.”
The carbon tax has affected various industries ranging from mining and energy to aviation, and even the country’s main chamber of commerce.
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is producing two million tonnes per annum of high grade iron ore in the first phase of development, with expansion possibilities of greater than six million tonnes per annum of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”