A dump truck heads out of a pit at New Acland coal mine. Photo: Stuart Cumming / The Chronicle
A dump truck heads out of a pit at New Acland coal mine. Photo: Stuart Cumming / The Chronicle Stuart Cumming

Expert tells court coal market not in ‘structural change’

A COAL market expert has told a court that falling coal prices do not represent a "structural change" in the industry.

Mining company New Hope's coal market expert, Stephen Williams, told the Queensland Land Court on Friday that changes in the energy sector were simply due to "market dynamics" and were not signs of a collapsing international appetite for coal.

The court is hearing a challenge from local farmers and environmentalists to the proposed expansion of the New Acland Coal mine outside Toowoomba.

Environmental Defenders Office lawyer Saul Holt suggested to Mr Williams the coal market was undergoing "structural change" due to competition from renewable energy and a decline in Chinese imports.

"Things (are) changing - that's just market dynamics," Mr Williams said.

"I don't find it astonishing that (coal price) forecasts have changed over time. I've seen China as an exporter as well (as an importer), so it's not astonishing.

"I think you're seeing a structural, to use your phrase, upswing in India in some regards."

The court has heard evidence about the impact international coal prices would have on the viability of the proposed New Acland expansion.

The court will resume on Monday when economist Rod Campbell gives evidence on behalf of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, which opposes the expansion. - ARM NEWSDESK


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