Australia’s primary mining lobby group backs net-zero 2050 target

The Minerals Council of Australia – which represents the nation’s major mining players including BHP and Rio Tinto – has set a target for the sector to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in a sign of a shifting attitude towards the highly polluting coal industry.

“A more sustainable minerals sector is not only important for Australia’s post-Covid recovery, it is also helping to sustain and improve the lives of millions around the world,” said the group’s chief executive Tania Constable.

Australia is currently one of the world’s leading exporters of fossil fuels, particularly coal and natural gas, however its conservative government continues to fund new coal projects while Prime Minister Scott Morrison is yet to set a net-zero emissions target, despite mounting pressure from international allies.

Last year, the Minerals Council released a road map to cut carbon emissions at mine sites amid growing criticism from climate action groups. Following the announcement, Constable claimed that the coal sector could plausibly achieve near zero or net-zero emissions via carbon offsets and carbon capture technologies.

The council’s long-awaited commitment to a net-zero emissions target comes after its two biggest members – Rio Tinto and BHP – continued to face growing investor pressure to leave the association due to its backing of coal.