Australia’s Rio Tinto exits state mining lobby amid climate rift

Australia's Rio Tinto exits state mining lobby amid climate rift © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Rio Tinto logo is displayed on a visitor’s helmet at a borates mine in Boron, California, U.S., November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

(Reuters) – Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), one of the largest Australian mining companies, on Thursday confirmed its exit from the state mining lobby group after raising concerns that its policy on expansion of coal mines did not align with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Global firms have been looking to appease regulators and shareholders by aiming for higher emission cuts across their operations to align with the Paris deal.

“After careful consideration, Rio Tinto will not renew its membership with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) for the 2022-2023 financial year,” Kellie Parker, Rio Tinto’s Australia chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement, without specifying the reason for its exit.

The global miner’s exit from the council comes after BHP had suspended https://reut.rs/3jHCVBi its membership in 2020 with the lobby group, which had at the time campaigned against the Greens political party ahead of an election in coal-rich Queensland state.

Investor advisory firm Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) had filed in February a shareholder resolution to Rio Tinto to suspend its membership with the resource council.

“While Rio Tinto’s exit from the QRC may have been triggered by ACCR’s shareholder resolution, the company was under increasing pressure from its shareholders to rein in obstructive lobbying by its industry associations”, ACCR said in a separate statement.

ACCR said the other members “that claim to be supportive of the Paris Agreement – including Anglo American (LON:AAL), BHP, Origin Energy and South32 (OTC:SOUHY) – must follow Rio Tinto and exit the QRC.”

Source: Reuters