Lobby’s green tweak

Bows to en­ergy pres­sure


THE Min­er­als Coun­cil of Aus­tralia has launched a new en­ergy pol­icy in the face of BHP Bil­li­ton’s threats to leave and ac­tivist share­hold­ers tar­get­ing its sec­ond-big­gest mem­ber, Rio Tinto.

The new pol­icy — an up­date to one cre­ated in 2012 — calls for re­li­able and af­ford­able power to be a pri­or­ity on the path to lower emis­sions.

It says any new govern­ment pol­icy should aim to cut en­ergy prices and re­tain a fo­cus on se­cur­ing re­li­able dis­patch­able, baseload power.

“The min­er­als in­dus­try ac­knowl­edges that sus­tained global ac­tion is re­quired to re­duce the risks of hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change,” the Min­er­als Coun­cil pol­icy says.

“The Aus­tralian min­er­als sec­tor sup­ports a mea­sured tran­si­tion to a low-emis­sions global econ­omy.”

BHP last year pub­licly threat­ened to leave the in­dus­try lobby group if it con­tin­ued what the miner said was pro­mo­tion of cleaner coal­fired power over other sources and a pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of af­ford­abil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity over emis­sions re­duc­tion.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of BHP’s min­ing op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia, Mike Henry — who sits on the board of the Min­er­als Coun­cil — later said in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tions “do a lot of good”.

It is not clear yet whether BHP, which is a net ben­e­fi­ciary of higher east coast en­ergy prices be­cause of its Bass Strait gas busi­ness, sup­ports the new pol­icy.

But it is un­der­stood the Mel­bourne-based min­ing ti­tan was con­sulted dur­ing its for­ma­tion.

Min­er­als Coun­cil mem­bers make up about 15 per cent of east coast power de­mand.

Rio, which has sold out of ther­mal coal, is fac­ing a share­holder res­o­lu­tion at its up­com­ing an­nual meet­ing ask­ing it to re­view the cli­mate poli­cies of the in­dus­try groups it be­longs to.

“Re­li­able and af­ford­able en­ergy is cen­tral to our econ­omy,” the Min­er­als Coun­cil pol­icy says.

“Pol­icy mea­sures must de­liver re­li­able and af­ford­able en­ergy at least cost while putting Aus­tralia on a path­way to meet­ing its emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­gets.

“The MCA be­lieves a tech­nol­ogy-neu­tral ap­proach should be adopted for all low emis­sions en­ergy sources where no one tech­nol­ogy is favoured to the ex­clu­sion of oth­ers.”

BHP's Min­er­als Coun­cil of Aus­tralia board mem­ber Mike Henry. Pic­ture: AARON FRAN­CIS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.