Jun 30, 2020

Insurance giant pushes on with new mine plan

Insurance giant pushes on with new mine plan

Baralaba mine owner Liberty Mutual is standing by plans to develop the Baralaba South coal project after attacks from opponents.

It says the environmental impact study for the Baralaba South project is expected to be submitted to the government by the end of the year

The proposed mine, about 8km south of Baralaba in Central Queensland, is expected to employ about 600 people at peak production.

The ABC reported today that the insurance giant had withdrawn support for Adani’s Carmichael coal project after providing insurance last year for early-works site construction.

Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokesperson 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.

“As an insurance company Liberty Mutual should understand the risks of this project. 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.”

In a company statement, Liberty Mutual confirmed it had made a strategic decision more than a year ago to make no new additional direct investments in the coal 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,” it said.

“We recognise 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.”