Tuesday, October 13, 2015

India a big upcoming market for Australian coal

Seen as driving next wave of coal Mergers and Acquisitions in Australia.  Could take up the slack left by reduced demand from China

India's quest to lock in sources of supply of metallurgical coal is set to drive a new wave of coal M&A in Australia just as recent acquisitions have highlighted a keen appetite for strategic investments in the sector, according to Bede Boyle at consultancy Coal Ventures Ltd.

Mr Boyle pointed to an Indian government coal delegation to Sydney earlier this month, when Coal India director Pradeep Kumar Tiwari​ estimated that the company would require some $US4.5 billion ($6.1 billion) to invest in the acquisition of overseas coal assets.

Mr Boyle told clients in a report that Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, the minister of steel and mines who led the delegation, had said that: "India has scarce high-quality metallurgical coal reserves and will have a continuing dependence on Australian high-quality metallurgical coals to supply Indian steel industry."

India's emergence as a major steel-producer is driving growth for metallurgical coal imports, while it is also expected to increase demand for higher quality, low-ash thermal coal because of a government directive that requires all new coal-fired power plants to use super-critical technology starting in 2017. India's own coal resources are typically low-energy and high-ash, used for the sub-critical technology that dominates the Indian market at present.

The forecast for increased Indian investment in Australia's coal sector comes as M&A activity picks up with a number of recent investments. These include Glencore's link-up with privately owned Bloomfield Group to buy Vale's Integra mine in the Hunter Valley, and Stanmore Coal's acquisition of metallurgical coal areas in Queensland's Bowen Basin from Peabody Energy, with the intention of extending the Isaac Plains mine.

New Hope Corporation Limited has agreed to acquire Rio Tinto's 40 per cent interest in the Bengalla thermal coal joint venture in NSW.

Meanwhile, Mr Boyle pointed to reports by IHS that Australian "clean coal" technology company Exergen is acquiring the Wilkie Creek mine in Queensland from Peabody for $10 million, conditional on a capital raising and on finalising port and rail haulage contracts.

India has already invested heavily in Queensland's thermal coal industry, with GVK taking 75 per cent of Hancock Prospecting's equity in the Alpha mine and Adani buying the Carmichael deposit.

Mr Boyle expects Indian companies to buy equity in Australian metallurgical coal players as part of a strategy to gain access to needed resources, echoing investments made by Japanese and Korean players in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s.

"I think you're going to see some interesting strategic investments, and they will be about security of supply," he said.


NSW police charge Palestinian with murder after he 'shot his own NEPHEW dead

The family of a man who was shot dead at the entrance of his home in Sydney's west will have some peace of mind now that their son's alleged killer is behind bars.

Saif Jouda, described as an upstanding citizen, had only just moved from Palestine to Sydney, and was planning to marry his fiancé when he was shot three times in the head after answering a late-night knock at the front door of his home in Horsley Park late on April 23.

Detective Superintendent Peter Lennon said information from a number of witnesses had helped lead to the arrest of 47-year-old, Abdel Dwikat at Yennora on Friday.

The Granville man was questioned by police and later charged with Mr Jouda's murder.

Superintendent Lennon told AAP that Mr Jouda's family, who are overseas and had been notified of the arrest, were still coming to terms with the death.

'They took it in their stride and are still recovering from the death of their relative,' Supt Lennon said on Friday.  'They were most grateful to police for the investigations conducted. 'We will be in contact with them with any further developments.'

Mr Jouda's body was returned to his family for a burial following investigations conducted by the coroner, police said. 

Friday's arrest comes just weeks after authorities released CCTV footage of a truck they believed would help investigations into Mr Jouda's death.

After the shooting police say sniffer dogs traced a scent from the crime scene to a footprint along the road, where they believe a truck was parked and used as a getaway vehicle.

Police have not revealed what they say the alleged killer's motive was, but Supt Lennon claims there was one and the subject would be addressed in court.

He said he was satisfied with the work of detectives who undertook investigations with 'great tenacity and professionalism'.

Detective Inspector Stuart Cadden spoke of the murder's brutality following the initial release of the CCTV footage, reported Fairfax.

'We know that the shooting was a rather calculated and brutal shooting,' he said.  'We believe it was done by a person who obviously had a very significant level of hatred towards the man.'

The 47-year-old was refused bail and is set to appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday. 


Muslim leaders want Malcolm Turnbull to ban Geert Wilders from Australia

Wouldn't it be better to ban Muslims?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is coming under pressure from Australia’s Muslim leaders to cancel the visa of a far-right Dutch politician known for his anti-Islamic sentiments.

Geert Wilders is visiting the country to join new political party Australian Liberty Alliance - also known for its opposition to Islam - for its planned launch in Perth this month.

In a high-level meeting with seven Islamic community leaders on Friday, Mr Turnbull was warned that Mr Wilders’ arrival in Australia would create anti-Islamic tensions at a time when the government is reaching out to the Muslim community,The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

‘Other countries have refused him [Mr Wilders] entry and we have recently rejected Chris Brown for behaving in a certain way, Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan told Fairfax Media, with reference to the American singer being banned from Australia because of his history of domestic violence.

‘Someone we know who will stir the pot, increase anti-Islamic sentiment and feed into those who seek to divide us’ should be banned from Australia too, Mr Dandan said.

He said the government should not welcome to the country people whose values were not aligned with Australia's.

‘There is a line in the sand in terms of freedom of speech,’ Mr Dandan said.  ‘If someone makes an anti-Semitic comment, it’s not welcomed. If anyone makes an anti-Islamic comment, it should not be welcomed.'

A spokesman from the prime minister’s office confirmed that the community leaders had raised the matter of Mr Wilders’ visit during the meeting on Friday.

But he said Mr Turnbull had not made the decision to grant the visa.

The Dutch MP's visa was granted about a week after controversial American anti-abortionist Troy Newman had his visa revoked and was detained on arrival at Melbourne airport.

News of Mr Wilders' visit comes just days after the prime minister pleaded for solidarity with Australia's Islamic community.

His request followed the fatal shooting of a police employee in Parramatta, western Sydney, by 15-year-old 'radicalised' youth Farhad Jabar in what police said was a terror attack.

Religious leaders have praised Mr Turnbull's approach to the issue as he called for support of Islamic people.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed to reporters in Canberra on Friday he was consulted about the application and was happy to take the advice of the relevant official. 

Approval of his visa has reportedly been met with relief by the Australian Liberty Alliance after concerns it would not be issued, the ABC reported.

Mr Wilders, the founder and leader of far-right Party for Freedom in the Netherlands also expressed his pleasure with being granted a visa via Twitter.

The approval of his visa follows the detention of  Mr Newman at Melbourne Airport, after travelling to Australia despite his visa being cancelled.

Mr Newman, who has questioned why doctors who perform abortions were not sentenced to death, had been scheduled to speak at a number of events in Australia.

Australian Liberty Alliance director Debbie Robinson was pleased Mr Wilders' visa had been issued, the ABC reported.

People were looking forward to hearing him speak and were not expecting the kinds of protests seen during his previous trip to the country, she said.

The party launch is to be held at a secret location under tight security on October 20.

A visa application by Mr Wilders in 2012 stalled causing the cancellation of his travel plans, but he eventually travelled to Australia in 2013. Protests were held when he appeared to speak during that trip.

At the time, his visa application was held up because he was on a Movement Alert List - a database maintained by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of more than 700,000 people of concern for 'character or other reasons'.

His most recent visa has been the cause for concern for a racial equality group, the ABC reported.

West Australians for Racial Equality head Suresh Rajan said while he was not opposed to Mr Wilders receiving a visa, he was worried about the possibility he could make the issues of 'radicalisation and home-grown terror' worse.

Australian Liberty Alliance would introduce policies such as banning full-face covering in public and request a decade-long suspension of residence applications by people from Islamic countries, the ABC reported.

The ALA values and core policies statement published on its website places the aim to 'stop the Islamisation of Australia' third on its list of key policy areas.

It describes Islam as a 'totalitarian ideology with global aspirations'.


Racism: Outrage after wheelchair-bound man, 72, is refused emergency dental work 'because he is not indigenous'

A wheelchair-bound elderly man was refused emergency dental treatment because he was not indigenous.

Ken Murphy's family contacted Mungindi Hospital in northern New South Wales fearing a painful toothache he was suffering may have spiked his blood pressure, which could cause him to have a second stroke.

But his wife Robynne claims the hospital refused to treat 72-year-old Mr Murphy because they were only treating indigenous members of the community, reports Carleen Frost from Daily Telegraph.

'If they would have just looked at Ken, I would have paid $200 for them just to see him — it's not that we wanted anything for free,' Robynne said.

After being denied treatment they went in search of a dentist elsewhere and eventually found one who accepted to treat him in Goondiwindi, more than two hours away.

'He was just in terrible pain. If there was a dentist there who refused an indigenous person I wonder what would have happened.'

Mungindi Multi-Purpose Health Service offers '24-hours a day, seven days a week emergency care and dental', According to Queensland Health.


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