‘They’re dreaming’: Shareholder advocate claims BHP ‘delusional’ over coal

BHP’s plans to extend the life of its Peak Downs coal mine in central Queensland were delusional, according to the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility.

Oct 10, 2022, updated Oct 10, 2022
Australia's subsidies paid to fossil fuel users will rise by 30 per cent this year. (File image)

Australia's subsidies paid to fossil fuel users will rise by 30 per cent this year. (File image)

The centre, which is a research and shareholder advocacy organisation, was referring to an application to the Federal Government from BHP and its partner Mitsubishi in the BMA Alliance, for an extension to mining at the site for 93 years.

It follows the company’s decision to freeze new capital works in Queensland following the State Government’s decision to hike coal royalty rates.

“What part of net zero by 2050 does it not understand?” ACCR’s climate lead Harriet Kater said.

“The company has been speaking out of both sides of its mouth in climate change for too long.

“It’s hard to imagine that BHP’s carefully curated reputation for climate leadership can withstand such decisions for much longer.”

ACCR has lodged resolutions for vote to the BHP annual general meeting next month for BHP to advocate for Australian policy settings that were consistent with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

However, BHP has recommended shareholders vote against the resolution because, in part, it interfered with the board’s discretion and the wording of the resolution was too broad and ambiguous. It added that the company already advocated for policies consistent with the Paris Agreement.

ACCR said the company held immense political power and since 2020 the company had promoted the 1.5 degree pathway.

ACCR said this is a critical moment for Australia following the change in the Federal Government and mining companies like BHP should stand up and counter the claims of the fossil fuel industry.

BHP said the world would need reliable long-term supplies of higher quality metallurgical coal for steelmaking, to support economic development and to make the infrastructure required for decarbonisation.

“This application will support the continued operations at the existing Peak Downs metallurgical coal mine in central Queensland at current production levels,” a spokesman said.

“Separate to the assessment process, we remain concerned about the impact of the Queensland Government’s significant coal royalty increase on future investment, jobs and local communities in central Queensland. The near tripling of the top royalty rate will make future Queensland projects less competitive and less likely to go ahead.”

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The company is also maintaining its position on the capital freeze in Queensland and said the approval process was separate to any future decision on Peak Downs.

BHP has been on a path to decarbonise its business but has maintained a strong belief that coking coal from mines like Peak Downs was vital to help the transition to renewables.

Coking coal was a vital commodity used in the production of steel which is used in things like wind farms.

BHP said if the life extension to Peak Downs was approved it would not impact production rates at the mine or add any new capacity.






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