Column: Rio Tinto warning may rupture mining industry into green and dirty – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – April 16, 2019)

The mining industry is starting to come under more intense pressure
from investors who are demanding sustainable and ethical mining.

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – It’s not quite yet pistols at dawn but Rio Tinto’s polite warning to mining lobby groups that they have to acknowledge the threat of climate change is likely a sign that the industry will inevitably fracture into two camps.

These factions could be described as the “green” miners, who produce the minerals essential for the transition from the age of oil to the age of electricity, and the “dirty” miners who remain trapped in coal and other minerals deemed unnecessary for a carbon constrained future.

Rio Tinto’s carefully worded statement on industry associations, released last week, said that it would only work with groups aligned with its own climate principles.

These include a commitment that “any advocacy on the use of coal in the long term will note that it will require advanced technology, and in the medium to long term must be consistent with Paris targets.”

The world’s second-biggest miner also said that mining lobby groups should argue against public subsidies for coal and advocate for energy supply to be done in a “technology neutral; way.”

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