Asia Minute: Australian Mining Giant Reconsiders Lobbying Groups

Dec 19, 2017

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One of the world’s biggest mining companies may pull out of several industry lobbying groups. The issue is a difference in approach to climate change. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Australia’s BHP Billiton is a mining giant, and an influential global player in the industry with a market capitalization of more than 90 billion dollars.

Early Tuesday, BHP released a 22 page report announcing it has reached a preliminary decision to leave the World Coal Association—and may also withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

One big difference: BHP has embraced the Paris climate accords.

The company also says energy markets should be neutral on the types of fuel and technology used—and take into account the costs and benefits of various approaches.

The World Coal Association has urged Australia to drop its clean energy targets and back new technology for coal-fired power plants.

BHP is also reconsidering its membership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Australian miner supports a U.S. rule introduced in the last year of the Obama administration requiring resource companies to disclose all payments to governments. That rule is opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—and BHP says that may be a significant enough difference to make the company leave the Chamber.

The news comes as coal mining companies are coming under increasing pressure from some institutional investors.

Bloomberg reports Norway’s sovereign wealth fund no longer invests in companies that make 30 percent of their sales from coal.