BHP says likely to quit global coal lobby group

BHP says likely to quit global coal lobby group
BHP Billiton Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie is silhouetted against a screen projecting the company's logo at a round table meeting with journalists in Tokyo, Japan June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton <BHP.AX><BLT.L> said on Tuesday it has taken a preliminary decision to quit the World Coal Association citing disagreement over climate change, and might also withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over mining industry rules.

BHP, which has largely quit mining coal for power plants but is the world’s largest exporter of coal for steel-making, said it would seek responses from the World Coal Association over policy differences before making a final decision on whether to quit in March 2018.

The miner came under pressure from Australian green groups earlier this year to pull out of any industry groups whose policies did not match the company’s support of the Paris climate accord.

Following a review, BHP said on Tuesday it had “reached a preliminary view to exit” the global coal lobby group, as the latter had called for Australia to abandon a clean energy target to boost prospects for high-tech coal-fired power plants.

BHP said the association’s policy conflicted with its view that energy markets should be fuel- and technology-neutral and take into account costs and benefits.

Likewise, it plans to decide by March whether to withdraw from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which BHP has been a member of since 2011.

BHP highlighted the chamber’s opposition to a U.S. rule introduced in 2016 requiring resource companies to disclose all their payments to governments, as an area of difference with the company. BHP supported the rule.

The company also said it would press the Minerals Council of Australia to review its promotion of coal in Australia’s energy policy and would reconsider its membership in a year’s time if changes weren’t made.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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