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Glencore is a Swiss-headquartered mining company and Australia’s biggest coal producer.

Glencore claims to be taking action on climate and sustainability, but its plans to massively expand its coal operations across Queensland and New South Wales blow these claims out of the water. 

Glencore’s massive coal expansion plans

As at early July 2022, Glencore has four new coal developments under assessment for environmental approval:  

  1. The Glendell Continued Operations expansion in the Hunter Valley. 
  2. The Valeria greenfield coal mine near Emerald in Central Queensland. 
  3. Hunter Valley Operations North coal expansions in the Hunter Valley.
  4. Hunter Valley Operations south coal expansion in the Hunter Valley.

Four additional coal operations have been approved since 2019, and it still hasn’t given up on the mega Wandoan coal project in the Western Downs, Qld.

Glencore’s plans for expanding coal operations in Australia:

Image: Glencore's Rolleston Mine in Central Queensland

Image: Greater glider, threatened species found on Glencore's Valeria coalmine site

Cultural heritage, farms, water and natural values at risk

Glencore’s coal operations are located in highly biodiverse regions in the Hunter Valley, NSW, and central Queensland.  

The fragments of remaining and regrowth native vegetation in heavily mined areas are vital to the survival of local wildlife and plant species.  

Glencore’s expanding coal operations are set to clear almost 10,000 hectares of native vegetation, of which almost 2,000 hectares are endangered ecological communities.  

Other adverse impacts to Qld and NSW’s environmental, historical and economic assets are equally severe.

Image: Theresa Creek, Central Qld- at risk from the Valeria coal project.


Here’s a summary of some of the devastating impacts the proposed mines and expansions will cause: 


Image: Ravensworth Homestead: Site of colonial violence indentified by the Wonnarua Plains Clan. 

Massive climate threat

Glencore’s carbon emissions from coal are already enormous – the full lifecycle emissions of the coal it produces in Australia is 230Mt each year, which is almost half of Australia’s total annual emissions.  

And its coal expansion plans are vast – proposed new projects will produce over 2.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions if they go ahead as planned – which is 5 times Australia’s annual emissions. 

Glencore says it will reduce its emissions by 50% by 2035 (on 2019 levels - a record-high production year for Australian coal) and achieve net zero by 2050.

There is no way Glencore can achieve that goal at the same time as pursuing its massive expansion plans, and it will also make it impossible for Australia to meet our emission reduction targets as well. 

Image: Glencore's Mangoola Mine in the Hunter Valley NSW (Dean Sewell)

Glencore’s coal mines are also leaking vast quantities of methane gas, which is 84 times more polluting than carbon dioxide in the short term, directly into the atmosphere from its Australian coal mines.

They are already responsible for 4.6 million tonnes of direct emissions each year (Scope 1 emissions) from their existing Australian coal mines, and the new projects and expansions will see that increase even further, emitting a further 4Mt each year in direct emissions.

And the real scale of direct emissions is probably much bigger, because recent scientific research shows that Glencore’s Hail Ck coal mine in Queensland is emitting 35 times more methane than reported by Glencore. 

Image: Spontaneous combustion at Glencore's Clermont Mine, Qld.