While most of the coalition Government is joining Greenpeace and other anti-miners in claiming coal is dead, it is still performing in New Zealand and has many observers claiming it important for the future.
We have witnessed the Conservation Minister claiming Westport and other West Coast towns have a growing role in tourism, but that seasonal business still provides little impact for the West Coast, still recovering after mine rationalisations brought about by the dive in coal prices about four years ago.
One of the major problems for the coal sector is that the Green Party has portfolios on conservation and climate change, and they invent reasons to block projects.
Meanwhile, across the Ditch the story is different despite the less-noticed anti coal groups, and the money mandarins in Canberra know just how important mining of steaming coal for power stations and coking coal for domestic and foreign steelmaking.
The website MiningBusinessNews said that to misquote Mark Twain, reports of the death of coal are an exaggeration.
MBN said the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) quotes recent figures from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to show that coal remains the dominant source of energy.
The AEMO reports that coal-fired power generation delivered more than 76% of large-scale power generation in the National Electricity Market in the past summer December 31 to April 1), with gas contributing just under 10%.
Coal's dominance was strongest in New South Wales, where it generated 89% of power. It delivered 85% in Queensland and 82% in Victoria. (Gas from offshore fields is a prime generator in Western Australia).
MCA's coal executive director Greg Evans said the AEMO figures also disproved the claims by anti-coal activists that coal-fired generation is unreliable