Minerals Council of Australia publishes carbon emissions reduction road plan

Australia’s peak mining lobby group – The Minerals Council of Australia – has released a road map to cut carbon emissions at mine sites, in the face of growing criticism from climate action groups.

The three-page climate change policy details a ‘collective commitment’ to the goals of the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to achieve net-zero emissions.

Chief executive Tania Constable highlighted the emergence of electric vehicles in Australia and vowed to support the integration of renewable energy into mine sites.

However, the plan has been met with criticism from climate change activists after the Minerals Council failed to set a target date for reaching net-zero emissions and pledged its support to building new ‘cleaner’ coal plants.

“It’s both possible and plausible for the coal sector to achieve near zero or net-zero emissions,” said Constable. She suggested using carbon offsets and carbon capture technologies to reach the goal.

“Coal is fundamental to the power industry at the moment in Australia and the strong demand of the Asia region in particular. The plan recognises that there’s an effort that needs to be made on coal.”

The plan has been drafted after two of the council’s biggest members – Rio Tinto and BHP – faced growing investor pressure to leave the association due to its backing of coal. The Minerals Council has been accused of holding back action on climate change in the past.