PNG MP says opposition to coal development 'hypocritical'

4:25 pm on 30 January 2019

A Papua New Guinea MP has branded opposition from abroad to possible coal development in his electorate as hypocritical.

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Photo: 123RF

Australian company Mayur Resources plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Lae.

Lae MP John Rosso said his city had to look at alternative energy sources after years of blackouts due to an unreliable electricity system running on heavy fuel oil.

However environmentalists, both in PNG and overseas, warn it will pollute and harm local communities, and add to the climate catastrophe.

But Mr Rosso said PNG had been urged not to use coal when neighbouring developed countries relied heavily on coal to develop as nations.

"It's a bit hypocritical, to be honest," he said.

"You have coal operations operating in Australia, Japan, China.

"And there are ways with the new technology we have at the moment. It points to the fact that yeah you can use safe coal to power some of your cities."

Mr Rosso says his primary interest is to ensure Lae gets a reliable, adequate and safe power supply.

"If anyone lived in Lae they would understand that we have continuous blackouts. It's really affecting the whole city.

"We've got kids that can't study and stuff like that," he said, adding that blackouts were also bad for the industry.

Acknowledging the negative reputation around coal, Mr Rosso said he would love to have green clean energy in Lae.

For now, he said coal was probably the best energy alternative to the current arrangement.

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