Adelaide Brighton counts the cost of new carbon tax

Adelaide Brighton counts the cost of new carbon tax
Published: 13 October 2011

Adelaide Brighton Cement’s chief executive Mark Chellew said the Australian government’s decision to introduce a carbon tax, which cleared a major political hurdle yesterday, would impact some of its business.

The controversial plan to introduce a tax on carbon emissions secured the expected approval on Wednesday of the country’s lower legislative house. The package to introduce a price on carbon pollution and encourage investment in clean and renewable energy narrowly passed at 74-72. The law is now likely assured easy passage through the Australian parliament.

Mr Chellew said the Federal Government had "fundamentally got this wrong" by choosing to introduce the tax. While he said his primary concern was for the overall strength of the Australian economy, Adelaide Brighton Cement would have to consider some aspects of its business.

"We’re considering our import flexibility against our domestic footprint," he said.

"The carbon tax will exacerbate the consideration of our domestic footprint."

But he said the future of the company’s main Birkenhead plant was not at stake, with the company announcing in August it was investing US$60m over two years in the plant and increasing its cement milling capacity by 750,000t a year from the current 1.1Mt.

Mr Chellew said Adelaide Brighton Cement would have been supportive of a carbon price if it had started at a lower level.

He said the company had already taken steps to reduce its carbon emissions.

"We managed to get the cement standard changed in Australia to get a greater amount of limestone into Australian cement rather than higher-carbon-embedded clinker," Mr Chellew said.

Adelaide Brighton Cement has also reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 250,000tpa with a materials handling, storage and injection system developed by Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The use of recycled waste as a supplementary fuel source has also enabled the company to divert 200,000t of waste from landfill each year.