Norway’s sovereign wealth fund asked miners to consider coal demergers – by Peter Ker (The Age – February 7, 2016)

Norway’s influential sovereign wealth fund asked mining companies in its investment sphere to consider spinning out their coal assets in 2015.

The fund, which is a top five shareholder in BHP Billiton, made the request just months before BHP spun out South32. The coal push was revealed in the fund’s 2015 annual report. It also shows the fund divested from 73 companies in 2015 for ethical and governance reasons.

The fund has made headlines in recent years for its increasingly strict stance against investing in fossil fuels. It took the stance further in 2015 by asking miners to consider divestments of their own.

“In the first quarter of 2015, we started dialogues with a number of electricity producers about their plans for transitioning to less emission-intensive energy systems, and with mining companies, requesting their views on a possible move in the industry towards spinning off coal-mining operations,” fund management said in the annual report.

“We sought public reporting that demonstrates companies’ approach to divesting from, or spinning off, coal assets.”

The fund did not name the mining companies it asked to consider spinning out coal assets, but the list likely included BHP and Anglo American.

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