The first volume of “Coal – the Australian Story”, published in 2019, serviced a wide readership of people with economic, technical, historical, industrial and regional interests in coal. This second volume has even wider appeal.
Denis Porter not only completes the history of coal to the present time for those same readers but also will attract new ones. Those who worked in and lived through the exciting growth of coal of the last 50 years and those interested in the place of coal in the decades ahead will find this book compelling reading. Denis himself is such a person, having held senior positions in the mining industry during that time, including CEO of the New South Wales Minerals Council.
This book chronicles coal mining in Queensland and New South Wales from 1970. Porter details the development of the industry, the changes in commercial ownership, foreign and local investment, employment, the impact on established coal communities and the growth of new ones, industrial relations issues, the involvement of governments, and the huge expansion of coal exports.
-- From the Foreword
1. Oil shocks, price controversies and the new Labor Government
Japan, the yen and US economic woes; NSW industry visits to Japan see meagre results; Sir Edward Warren resigns industry roles; JCB tries to balance open cut and underground sectors; Japan’s coal pricing favoursUSA and Canada; Japan promotes Canada as a competitor to Australia; Whitlam Government’s new export controls; Fitzgerald Report slams mining companies; Labor’s new foreign investment controls; Connor’s Petroleum and Minerals Authority; the coal export duty – an early super profits tax; Bowen Basin development stalls; NSW port capacity holds back the industry; the Fraser and Anthony years; coal prices in the 1970s; Australian Coal Association’s Export Division – a short life; BHP snaps up Peabody’s stake in TPM; export duty continues under the Coalition; the West Moreton’s future in the balance; West Moreton disputes see power rationing; new towns spring up in the Bowen Basin; oil shocks open the way for a boom in demand for steaming coal; Japanese show interest in Australian steaming coal; second oil shock in 1979; the decade in review.
2. From Boom to Gloom
Dark clouds form; Japanese contracts bring new Canadian mine developments; steaming coal prospects looked bright; Japanese early forecasts prove unreliable; new power stations create excess capacity; Australian companies stand firm in 1981 JSM negotiations; WWF and TWU fight leads to Wran’s Navy; Queensland port development and rail electrification proceed smoothly; industry restructuring in the early 1980s; government charges, royalties and freight rates; Queensland freight rate battle; NSW producers push back on rail, port and electricity charges; coal industry profitability poor; NSW royalty hike in 1989; company takeovers, comings and goings; BHP buys Utah; CSR bursts on to the energy scene; the oil companies invest, then sell out; Peko Wallsend rocks the status quo; CRA, the Blair Athol saga and foreign investment policy; CRA and CSR fight for Hail Creek; demands for a coal marketing authority; coal industrial relations in the 1980s; Australian Industrial relations – the precursor to a new era; pit ponies become union members; Japan’s coal industry death spiral continues.
3. Inquiries, Reforms and Industrial Battles
Queensland development resumes; NSW mining developments also get underway; Billiton enters Australian coal industry; coal prices, strikes and the Taylor Review; the 1994 coal price settlements; the Taylor inquiry; Japan and Australian coal trade; steaming coal market becomes more competitive; export controls on coal abolished; coal market growth in the 1990s; price discrimination and excess supply; the Joint Coal Board’s powers reduced; the end of the JCB and QCB era; the QCB is abolished; the end of the Coal Industry Tribunal; the coal and mineral associations unite; the industrial battles of the 1990s; Gordonstone – a fight to the death; Rio Tinto’s Vickery and Hunter Valley No.1 disputes; coal mines restructure in both States; BHP acknowledges the role of management; Shell Coal’s IR experience was mixed; Camberwell was innovative, but still frustrated; old habits die hard; BHP says goodbye to the Hunter Valley and Newcastle; State Governments give up de facto rail taxes; coal research – a success story for the industry.
4. Mine safety – disasters, inquiries and progress
Appin 1979; Box Flat 1972; Moura and Kianga 1975, 1986, 1994; Gretley 1996; NSW Mine Safety Review; the industry post Moura No.2 and Gretley; black lung disease reappears; new manslaughter provisions in Queensland.
5. The New Century
BHP and Billiton merge; BHP Billiton’s urge to merge with Rio Tinto; Rio Tinto’s joint venture with Chinalco implodes; the rise of Glencore – and the demise of MIM; Gauci fights a losing battle; Glasenberg accuses other mining CEOs of creating excess supply; Rio Tinto exits coal; Peabody in, out, in again; Centennial – from small beginnings to a major producer; NSW Government exits coal mining after 90 years; China and India become major coal importers and investors; China’s investments in Australian coal; India now a major investor and importer; Japan still a dominant overseas investor; coal pricing is no longer controversial; Queensland privatises QR – but not without a fight; NSW rail privatisation goes smoothly; carbon taxes and emissions trading; the Rudd and Gillard super profits taxes; the golden years
for mining profits; Treasury gets it wrong; the productivity puzzle; from an industry in turmoil to a world leader.\
6. The Future for Australian Coal
The domestic market is declining; the international coal market outlook; the outlook for metallurgical coal; the outlook for thermal coal; new generation high energy low emission (HELE) power stations; carbon capture and storage; the reality of coal.
Glossary of terms
Table of Contents
14 Coal: the Australian Story