BHP to halve Queensland coal emissions

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's metallurgical coal mine in Bowen Basin, Queensland. Image: QRC

BHP plans to reduce scope two emissions at its Queensland coal mines by 50 percent in the next five years.

The mining giant signed a renewable power purchasing agreement with Queensland’s state-owned clean energy generator and retailer CleanCo.

The agreement is scheduled to run for five years from next year, and is expected to displace around 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The 50 per cent reduction is based on emissions levels from BHP’s 2020 fiscal year, with the agreement switching electricity production to low emissions sources such as solar and wind power.

BHP president minerals Australia Edgar Basto said this agreement would ultimately reduce the company’s Australian scope 2 emissions by 20 per cent.

“This is an important step forward in BHP’s transition to more sustainable energy use across our portfolio, and a first for our Australian operations. It will diversify our energy supply, help to reduce our energy costs, and reduce BHP’s Australian scope 2 emissions by 20 per cent from (the 2020 financial year) levels,” he said.

“This is a prime example of prudent business decisions going hand-in-hand with social value, strengthening our business and benefitting the community.”

BHP has also planned to shift its Escondida and Spence copper operations in Chile to 100 per cent renewables from the mid-2020s, while also supporting the development of new solar and wind farms in Queensland.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) asset president James Palmer said the agreement with CleanCo would support regional jobs in Queensland.

“This contract will help our operations across Queensland to further increase their sustainability through reducing the greenhouse gas emissions we generate from electricity use by half. It will also support two greenfield renewable projects that in turn are expected to generate regional jobs in Queensland,” he said.

Power will be delivered from CleanCo’s low emissions portfolio for the first two years of the agreement, and will switch to newly operational solar and wind farms from late 2022.

The contract is expected to contribute to BHP’s medium-term target for reducing scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, which the company said would be announced shortly.

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