BHP, Mitsubishi Development pledge to reduce emissions from coal operations


In the latest sign of the mining sector’s environmental awakening, BHP and Mitsubishi Development have signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue emissions reductions on the Australian soil with the help of new technologies. Presently, the companies are reviewing opportunities to undertake research, pilot new ideas, and develop and deploy emissions reduction technologies.

The Australian mining giant and Mitsubishi Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary focusing on coal investments in Australia are long-term industry partners. The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance is Australia’s largest coal producer and supplier of seaborne metallurgical coal. The 50:50 joint venture operates seven Bowen Basin mines and owns and operates the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay. With such a huge portfolio, carbon emission mitigation could be a big bite to chew.

“Our new collaboration with Mitsubishi Development demonstrates the important role the private sector can play in bringing these technologies to market,” said BHP Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mackenzie said, noting that BHP is committed to accelerating the development of emerging technologies that have the potential to achieve material reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, BHP has made several investments in low emissions technologies and research, including $350,000 million tipped into the “knowledge sharing” aspects of Australia’s first large scale solar+storage array. The Lakeland project featuring 13 MW solar and 1.4 MW/5.3 MWh battery storage system was grid connected in Northern Queensland last February. Last month, it signaled its intentions to move away from thermal coal production and refocus its attentions on oil, nickel and copper, the latter two supplying fast-growing EV and renewables sectors.

BHP’s shift in strategy came several months after other major commodities giants, such as Glencore and Rio Tinto, also made it known they were limiting their coal production, or as is the case with Rio Tinto, abandoning fossil fuels completely.

Although it has not been specified what type of technologies BHP and Mitsubishi Development will be pursuing, Mitsubishi Development Managing Director and CEO, Sadahiko Haneji, said the MOU was an important initiative for a company engaging in mineral resources activities in Australia. “Mitsubishi Corporation Group, and therefore MDP, is committed to simultaneously generating economic value, environmental value, and societal value through all business activities it conducts,” he said.

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