GLENCORE is a step closer to having a new A$1.5bn (US$1.05bn) open-cut coal mine approved by Australia’s Queensland state government, a move that has sparked environmental concerns.
The state government announced it has invited Glencore to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Valeria mine in central Queensland’s Bowen Basin, while touting the creation of up to 2,350 new jobs during the economic shocks being inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, state support for the project, which will produce up to 20m t/y of thermal and metallurgical coal for 35 years, has come in for criticism from the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR).
Glencore said the new production will replace coal output elsewhere, enabling it to meet its existing climate commitments.
“The mine’s proponent, Glencore, has advised any thermal coal produced by the new mine will be subject to the company’s cap on thermal coal output, to support global transition to a low carbon economy,” said Queensland’s Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham.
However, the ACCR pointed to Glencore’s plans for expansions at other mines in Australia including the United Wambo and Glendell coal mines.
“Glencore is making an absolute mockery of its commitment to shareholders to cap coal production at 150m t/y. Its new and expanded Australian coal mines will push its production well above 160m t,” said Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment at ACCR.
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