Orica boss Alberto Calderon has expressed support for the coal industry and the Adani coal mine, saying “I hope it goes ahead,’’ while attending a business lunch in Melbourne.
Mr Calderon, the chief executive officer of Orica, made the comment to media shortly after addressing a Melbourne Mining Club lunch.
“It would be wonderful it it goes ahead,” he said of the Adani mine.
Mr Calderon stressed that he didn’t know the details of the project, or how much financial assistance it could receive from government.
“It’s a much more complex issue than coal,” he said, adding that there needed to be a good analysis of the project.
The mining services company could potentially benefit from work associated with the controversial mine if it gets the go ahead.
Mr Calderon also highlighted the role that coal and mining played in electricity generation and economic development around the world.
Some people were anti-mining and yet wanted to keep their air-conditioners on, use products containing steel and live in houses, he said.
“It’s ignoring the role that it [mining] plays in standards of living and the role it plays in the developed world. [In] the developed world it’s incredible. What coal has done in the developed world, the role it has played in bringing about a billion people out of poverty is enormous,” he said.
The controversial Queensland project is encountering stiff and ongoing resistance from environmental groups around the country.
“I don’t know why it’s been so polarising,” he said.
Mr Calderon predicted a “solid future” for Australian thermal coal over the next decade, because it was high quality and needed in many parts of the world.
Developing countries had a right to develop, he said.
“There’s still a billion poor people without electricity. And getting them the most affordable electricity, if it’s from thermal coal and good quality thermal coal like from Australia is a good thing,” he said.