Glencore’s withdrawal of its huge Valeria project in Central Queensland is another sign that there is no future for new thermal coal mines as the world moves urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal from the project would have been responsible for between 1.19 – 1.36 billion tonnes CO2 over its 37 year lifetime, which would have turbocharged climate change and the extreme weather that comes with it.
The 20 million tonne per annum project would have also carved up 10,000 ha of land near Emerald - a key agricultural region where wheat, sorghum, and beef are produced - to make way for six giant coal pits. It would have cleared large areas of important koala habitat and damaged wetlands and waterways.
Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland director Coral Rowston said, “This is terrific news for the local CQ community, as well as the koalas, forests and wetlands that Glencore wanted to destroy just so it could mine more coal.
“The world is at a tipping point and we cannot continue ripping up important waterways, natural areas, and farmland for projects that will drive the climate crisis into overdrive.
“Queenslanders are asking for support to diversify our regional economies and take advantage of new opportunities in clean energy and agriculture - that’s the future we want and need now,” she said.
Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Carmel Flint said that the withdrawal of the project was very significant and highlighted that there was no future in coal.
“This shift by Glencore, and its statement that it was part of its managed design of its global coal business, is a massive signal that thermal coal is on the way out around the world,” she said.
“There are seismic shifts occurring around the globe as the race to decarbonize accelerates, and even commodity giants like Glencore are not immune.
“This is a big relief for Australian communities - those who would have been directly impacted by a polluting coal mine and those who would have to fight for their lives against the fires and floods it would have contributed too.
“The world is rapidly moving towards clean green energy. Sadly, Glencore still doesn’t seem to fully understand this though, with suggestions it wants to build a new project producing hydrogen from coal seam gas near Wandoan.
“Glencore either needs to embrace the renewable energy revolution, or it will swiftly be left behind by other operators who understand there is no future for fossil fuels.”