Daring climate protest targets polluting aluminium smelter

Tomago aluminium protestTomago aluminium protest

Media Release 9th June 2009

Climate change protestors have halted production in Australia’s largest aluminium smelter by attaching themselves to a weigh bridge that is a pinch-point of the operation.

The protestors are angry that heavily polluting industries, like aluminium smelting, will receive 90% of their pollution permits free from the Federal Government under the controversial Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, allowing them to carry on largely unaffected by pollution constraints, and leaving the public to pick up the cost of reducing greenhouse emissions.

Aluminium smelting is an extremely energy intensive industry, and the Tomago plant has a constant demand of around 900MW of power, which is supplied from greenhouse polluting coal-fired power stations.

The Hunter’s two aluminium smelters, at Tomago and Kurri Kurri, use 15% of NSW’s electricity, yet are charged just one sixth of the cost per mega watt paid by ordinary energy consumers. The annual electricity subsidy to the aluminium industry has been estimated to be at least $210 million.

“The Tomago Aluminium smelter alone is excepted to receive over $250 million in free permits in the first year of the CPRS. It is half owned by mining and aluminium giant Rio Tinto, which last year posted a profit of $15.8 billion,” said Steve Phillips, spokesperson for protest organisers Rising Tide Newcastle.

“The Government is pursuing a backwards climate policy that rewards big polluting companies like Rio Tinto at the expense of the rest of the community and the world.

“Aluminium smelting in Australia is two-and-a-half times more greenhouse polluting than the world average, because our energy comes almost exclusively from coal burning.

“At this crucial hour in world history, we should be forcing plants like this to use renewable energy – not paying them to use coal power. The Aluminium industry needs to clean up, or clean out.

“The Federal Government needs to shift focus from compensation to restructuring. We call on the Federal Government to reverse the perverse subsidies given to coal-powered aluminium smelters and make assistance under any emissions trading scheme conditional on an urgent switch to renewable energy for all smelters.”

Further comment: Steve Phillips 0437 275 119

Photos or video: Annika Dean 0403 567 911

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Posted on 10 June, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We want to see a Cost Benefit Analysis of the proposed aluminium smelter,Alutrint in Trinidad and Tobago.

    http://alutrint.wordpress.com/

  2. A Letter from Trinidad and Tobago…..

    June 5th 2009
    Philip Julien
    Acting Chief Executive Officer
    ALUTRINT
    16 Mulchan Seuchan Road
    Chaguanas

    Professor Ken Julien
    Trintoplan Compound
    Orange Grove Road
    Tacarigua
    Trinidad and Tobago

    Senator the Honourable Conrad Enill
    Minister of Energy and Energy Industries
    Level 26 Tower C
    No 1
    Wrightson Road
    Port of Spain

    Dear Mr Philip Julien, Professor Ken Julien, Mr Conrad Enill,

    We are pleased to inform you that we, the citizens of Chatham, Vance River, La Brea, Claxton Bay, St Augustine, Port of Spain and representatives of a number of concerned groups on the West Coast, have united to approach you on a matter of urgent national importance.

    Having studied many of the costs of the proposed Alutrint Smelter, we find that this entity has, and would, incur a number of grave risks to the population of Trinidad and Tobago.

    We are aware that we the people, and the communities, are the ultimate stakeholders in Alutrint.

    We therefore wish to request from your offices the following:

    1.A meeting with you to discuss the economic viability of Alutrint.

    2.A detailed accounting of the costs of Alutrint, past, current and proposed.

    3.The cost-benefit analysis of the Alutrint project.

    If, in your view the Alutrint smelter is economically viable, we humble request that you sit with a number of our representatives, some of whom are trained in the field of Economics, and show us the accounting, the modeling, the projection to show that this is so.

    We trust that you take this opportunity provided to reassure the public of Trinidad and Tobago that Alutrint is indeed economically viable, and not another ISCOTT in the making.

    P.S. This letter is being advertised on the national media of Trinidad and Tobago

    Sincerely

    For Representatives of eight groups.

    Wayne Kublalsingh
    1 Kerria Drive
    La Florrissante
    D’Abadie
    868-771-5181

    Representatives of Eight Groups
    Rajesh Manohar
    Chatham Hunters Group

    Yvonne Ashby
    Chatham Group for the Protection of the Environment

    Dalton Dorman
    Smelta Karavan

    Cathal Healy-Singh
    Rights Action Group

    Ray Kublalsingh
    Resource Protection Group of Claxton Bay

    Hazel Smith
    Civil Rights Association of Trinidad and Tobago

    Nedra Jackson
    Vessigny Village

    Gary Aboud
    Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

    Aruna Ali
    Chatham Women’s Group For the Protection of the Environment

    Peter Vine
    Resource Protection Group of Claxton Bay

    Wayne Kublalsingh
    No-Smelter Alliance of Trinidad and Tobago

    Raphael Sebastian
    Cedros Peninsula United

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