Activists stop BHP Billiton coal train

Press release - 7 June, 2011

Time for BHP Billiton to stand and deliver its tax debt

Mt Arthur, Hunter Valley, NSW, Wednesday 8th June 2011
This morning at 11.25am, Greenpeace activists locked a steel box on the rail track servicing Mt Arthur coal mine, BHP Billiton’s largest mine in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Once the box was secured, Greenpeace activist, Erland Howden, climbed in and shut the lid behind him – he won’t be coming out for three days.
Mt Arthur Coal is a large open-cut coal mine in the Upper Hunter, last year it produced 12.4 million tonnes of coal valued at an average of $112 per tonne. At a modest price of $26 per tonne the pollution tax on this site would be equivalent to just three days of operations.
“This company got away with highway robbery when it saw off the government’s attempt to make it pay tax on its super profits,” said Trish Harrup, head of Greenpeace Climate Campaign. “Now it’s trying to cheat on paying its pollution tax and make householders pay instead.
“This company had a global turnover of $52 billion and a profit of over $12 billion last year,” said Harrup. “But when confronted with the need to clean up its pollution and pay a carbon tax its Chairman Jacques Nasser suggested a “go slow”, or sectoral approach, to pricing carbon pollution. The multi-million CEO, Mr Nasser, has volunteered Australian households as the ones who should pay the tax first.”
In 2009, BHP produced almost 13 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution in Australia alone, putting it in the top 10 polluters in Australia.  The average Australian household emits 14 tonnes of carbon per year, so BHP Billiton’s emissions equate to nearly one million households or 2.7 million cars driven for a year
“Every tonne of pollution produced by this company is contributing to climate change. Yet it is still trying to dodge paying its tax,” said Harrup. “Enough is enough, it’s time for BHP Billiton to stop funding the problem and start funding real solutions.”
For further information call:
Julie Macken 0400925217 (Mt Arthur)
James Lorenz 0400 376 021 (Sydney)