Calls for new CQ coal player to stick to its word
ENVIRONMENTAL advocacy group Lock the Gate Alliance is urging Liberty Mutual, a global insurance powerhouse, to abandon plans for a new coal mine in Central Queensland after it cut ties with the Adani Carmichael project citing its own environmental policies.
Liberty Mutual, the sole owner of the Mount Ramsay Coal Company, plans to build the Baralaba South greenfield coal mine south west of Rockhampton.
However the build is despite a 2019 policy stating the company is committed to no new investments in debt or equity securities of companies that generates more than 25 per cent of its revenues from thermal coal mining.
The company was also reported claiming it would make no additional direct investment in the coal industry whatsoever.
Paul Stephenson, who was born and raised in Moura and is part of a fourth-generation farming family, labelled Liberty Mutual's move to seemingly push ahead with Baralaba South as "hypocritical".
"Liberty Mutual has said it will make no new investments in the coal industry. It has also said, at the same time, that it will proceed with the Baralaba South coal mine, which would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build," he said.
"The company can't have it both ways."
Baralaba grazier Brett Coombe also backed the calls.
His concerns were with the fertile farming land on which the mine was planned.
"We're opposed to this mine because it will be built on a flood-plain next to a river on prime agricultural land," he said
"It will threaten the quality of the water supply for Baralaba and all systems downstream including the Great Barrier Reef.
"The company also wants to put up a levy bank that will flood country that has never flooded before.
"For a mine that has a limited lifespan, it should not be allowed to create long term damage as is proposed."
Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokeswoman Ellie Smith said Liberty Mutual's conflicting attitude to the Adani coal mine and Baralaba South coal mine was typical of large corporations.
"This company clearly wants to green wash its image by withdrawing from the Adani Carmichael coal mine, while continuing to back Baralaba South quietly," she said.
"The community doesn't want a mine on this fertile river country. Now is the time for the company to cut its losses, get out of coal and stick with the insurance business."
Liberty Mutual responded to the claims last night with a statement from a spokeswoman:
"Coal mines are a very small part of our overall investment portfolio, and we have since made the strategic decision over a year ago to make no new additional direct investments in the industry. The Baralaba metallurgical coal mine provides hundreds of jobs in rural Queensland and the environmental impact study for the South mine is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of the year.
We recognize the risk of climate change to our planet and are taking action to reduce carbon emissions. Environmental sustainability has been a key focus for us for some time, and we have a long-term strategy of decarbonization and investment in renewable energy. We recently launched our inaugural ESG report, and last year we announced our global policy on coal underwriting and investing and our new Office of Sustainability, which will further embed responsible investment and risk management policies into our decision-making. We're taking many steps that demonstrate our commitment to the shift toward clean energy, and we will continue to improve and build on the progress we've made."