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Media Release

Coal miner insurance mutual a desperate and dangerous attempt to prolong coal

13 August 2021

13 August, 2021, for immediate release

Market Forces has responded to today’s news of coal mining companies seeking to establish a new mutual fund to insure Australian coal mining operations by calling on reinsurers, insurance brokers, and governments to refuse to support it.

In submissions to the current parliamentary inquiry into the prudential regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries, coal mining companies and their service providers complained their activities are becoming increasingly difficult to insure, with one company working on Adani’s Carmichael coal project unable to source contractually required insurance.

Some submissions called on the Australian government to intervene to ensure finance and insurance is provided to coal mining companies. It is likely that the insurance mutual will also require the support of reinsurance companies.

Comments attributable to Pablo Brait, campaigner at Market Forces:

“As the latest IPCC report clearly outlines, coal needs to be urgently phased out in order to limit catastrophic global warming as much as possible. But coal mining companies are desperately trying to find new ways to manage risk, now that major insurers are beginning to exit the coal insurance business. If this proposed Australian coal mining insurance fund is established, it will only serve to delay the transition to clean energy and deepen the climate crisis.”

“This proposed Australian coal mining insurance fund will need investment, public funds, and reinsurance to succeed. All reinsurers, insurance brokers, and governments that claim to take the climate crisis seriously must reject any collaboration with this dangerous scheme. Any association with some of the world’s biggest climate polluters would obviously be a reputational disaster.” 

“Instead of wasting precious time creating an insurance mutual, coal companies should be planning for a rapid managing-down of their coal mining activities, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. How bad do the fires, floods and storms need to get before the Minerals Council of Australia and its members like Adani and Whitehaven put human life before their short-term profits?”