By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Northern Gas Pipeline (NGP) from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa and scheduled for completion by the end of this year will make a substantial contribution to gas supply in Queensland and the south east of Australia, according to Mike Lauer, Director of the Australian Pipeline and Gas Association.
He says owner Jemena has plans to expand and extend the NGP.
“We would anticipate reasonably high initial load factors and any spare capacity will be available to support east coast winter peak period gas demand.
“From a Mt Isa gas consumer’s point of view there has been a tectonic shift in the gas market.
“As an ‘interceptor market’ for NGP gas, Mt Isa has transitioned from being a relatively high priced market at the extremity of the pipeline network to now being in a highly competitive gas supply situation,” says Mr Lauer.
Mt Isa will be able to exploit competition between multiple gas supply sources; the benefits of “pipeline tariff shelter” when competing with southern buyers for Northern Territory gas.
“But it must be said that for most parties the NGP does not represent a source of low priced wholesale gas to put downward pressure on market prices generally.”
Meanwhile Chief Minister Michael Gunner has outlined a Five Point NT gas strategy which “will drive government’s vision for the Territory as a world class hub for gas production, manufacturing and services by 2030”.
The strategy includes:– five achievable targets, aiming for “a downstream, value add industry in the Territory to create jobs and drive population growth”: –
• Getting more LNG in Darwin and expand Darwin’s LNG Export Hub.
• Growing the gas supply and service industry.
• Establishing a gas manufacturing industry.
• Growing research, innovation and training capacity.
• Contributing to national energy security on the East Coast.
Mr Gunner has re-established the NT Gas Task Force – disbanded by the previous CLP government – and appointed the highly respected Paul Tyrell as its chair.
Across the nation, the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has joined a number of its member companies in corporate partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, which improves the education, discipline, self-esteem, life skills and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
CEO Tania Constable says Australian mining backs effective programs which support education, employment and a better future for young Aboriginal men.
“Many Clontarf graduates are now part of the world-class Australian minerals industry as part of the 82 per cent of Clontarf graduates who are employed or engaged in further training once they complete Year 12,” she says.
“Beyond its proven ability to partner with the mining industry in helping young Aboriginal boys find rewarding careers, the Clontarf Foundation has also been successful in improving their education, discipline, life skills and self-esteem.”
The MCA says the mining industry is a large employer of Indigenous Australians. In 2016, Indigenous Australians were 3.8% of the mining industry workforce – more than double the national average of 1.7% and the highest Indigenous employment share of all industries.
Clontarf Foundation Chief Executive Officer Gerard Neesham says: “Many of our new operations will be located in regional mining towns and securing the backing of the MCA is going to further help Clontarf engage with local industry to support our operations and provide critical employment opportunities for our Year 12 leavers.”
In Central Australia, Alex Read, from the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) says there are significant concerns about the Federal Governments’ environmental approval of the Tellus Chandler salt mine and hazardous waste storage facility.
“Questions about the capacity of the proponent Tellus to effectively manage the toxic waste in perpetuity is yet to be proven,” he says.
“ALEC has concerns about the types of waste that would be stored, monitoring of the waste, company compliance and also the enforcement of the conditions of this project.
“What needs to be made clear is that this Federal approval assesses the Tellus project based only on potential impacts on nationally recognized threatened species, and on no other environmental factors,” says Mr Read.
“Hazardous waste is a serious national issue, yet the risks have not been addressed in this approval [which] highlights the fact that we have weak national environmental laws, there is no national hazardous waste policy and that we still don’t know whether the environmental regulatory reform process currently underway in the NT will produce laws that will be stringent enough to manage this type of project.”
He says ALEC is calling on the NT Government to not approve any further mining authorisations for this project.
By ERWIN CHLANDA