Rusal slams carbon tax

REPORTS one of Queensland Alumina Limited’s owners has warned Canberra the refinery could become financially unviable have surfaced.

Rusal, which owns 20% of the refinery with Rio Tinto owning 80%, has lodged a submission on the government’s proposed carbon pricing scheme.

According to media reports, the submission states the policy “poses a threat to the continuing financial viability of QAL and to further expansions of the facility”.

The company’s concerns lie with the structure of the compensation rate proposed under the policy.

The model proposed offers compensation based on average alumina refineries. Because compensation will apply a single rate per tonne of alumina based on average industry emissions, the model will not take into account the higher emission rate of alumina out of QAL.

Under the fixed compensation rate model, QAL would end up being compensated for about 65% of its emissions, compared to 94.5% compensation levels for its Australian rivals.

Responding to the media reports Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said he had repeatedly warned the tax would take a heavy toll on the major aluminium, coal and cement industries in Flynn and the submission from Rusal backed up his concerns.

“Gladstone and the mining centres are at Ground Zero, with all our key industries including QAL, Boyne Smelters, Rio Tinto, Cement Australia and our major coal miners included in the list of worst polluters who will be hardest hit by the carbon tax,” Mr O’Dowd said.

QAL managing director Phil Campbell said QAL’s owners, Rio Tinto Alcan and Rusal, had been discussing the proposed carbon tax with the Federal Government.

“QAL has communicated to employees how the proposed tax on carbon emissions will impact alumina refineries, in particular QAL,” he said.

“The proposed carbon tax and subsequent emissions trading system will impact QAL’s international competitiveness.”

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