11 Jan 2018
The Minerals Council of Australia will continue hawking the benefits of coal-fired technologies, despite resources giant BHP threatening to pull out of the organisation over previous campaigns.
The lobby group says it is hoping to counteract “misinformation from urban activists”.
BHP made headlines late last year when it warned it was examining its MCA membership, after identifying it as one of three associations it had “material differences” with, in regards to climate and energy policies – particularly the MCA’s lobbying for coal-specific energy and technology solutions.
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BHP said it would remain a member of the Australian association, but warned it would re-examine its membership if MCA “has not refrained from such policy activity or advocacy” within the next year.
On Wednesday a spokesman for the council said it was moving ahead with its campaign to “show what mining means to Australians and the benefits of an innovative, responsible, successful and sustainable mining industry to our nation”, despite BHP’s concerns.
“BHP has been a valued member of the MCA for many years and we look forward to that continuing,” the spokesman said in a statement to Guardian Australia.
“The MCA continues to actively recruit new members from amongst Australia’s world-class mining companies, including those from new and developing parts of the industry.”
Contacted over the plan to move forward with the “making the future possible” campaign, BHP had no further comment.
Previous campaigns from the MCA featured Japan’s high-efficiency, low-emission (HELE) coal-fired power stations, as well as describing coal as “an amazing thing”, a message the treasurer, Scott Morrison, echoed when he took a piece of coal into question time as a prop last year.
ut environmental and activist groups, such as StopAdani and GetUp have had an impact on how people view coal-fired energy and technology solutions, with the industry and, at times, the government, struggling to win the PR battle.
MCA said its campaigns aimed to educate the public on the importance of the industry, singling out urban dwellers.
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“Some Australians, particularly those who live in cities and may not have direct experience of the jobs and prosperity brought by mining, might be unaware of the current contribution and the future potential of the Australian minerals sector,” the MCA spokesman said.
“For example, some Australians may not be aware that the mining industry is three times larger than it was a decade ago, and employment in the sector is nearly three times higher, or that the $185bn in federal company tax and state and territory royalties paid by the Australian mining industry between [2005 and 2016] helped to fund the schools, hospitals, police and other essential services on which Australians depend.
“This lack of awareness is compounded in some cases by misinformation from urban activists.”