The Mineral Resource board made it clear at yesterday’s annual general meeting (AGM) that they would continue to pursue dirty oil and gas development despite their peer Fortescue Metals announcing a major move into renewable energy and green hydrogen.
Mineral Resources is a lithium and iron ore mining company with operations in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In 2017 Mineral Resources merged with Resources Limited which holds nine exploration permits for oil and gas in Western Australia. Mineral Resources’ current plans to develop these oil and gas basins are out of line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
At last year’s annual general meeting, shareholders asked why Mineral Resources was pursuing these oil and gas developments. Wade said they needed to choose between burning diesel or gas to power their iron owe operations. He went on to say ‘I’m hoping that one of these 16-year-old bright sparks is gonna come up with some form of energy where we don’t put any emissions into the atmosphere. I’m not smart enough to do it – all I can do is aim to do the best that our organisation can do.’
Yesterday, a shareholder asked ‘With some of our peers, like Fortescue, making major commitments to renewable energy and green hydrogen, will Mineral Resources reconsider its plans to move into gas development?’
Wade was adamant that Mineral Resources would stick with their plans to drill for new oil and gas, despite the need to decrease oil and gas consumption to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
Currently Mineral Resources lags behind its peers when it comes to climate risk disclosure and has not produced any emission reduction targets. From what’s been disclosed so far, the targets being developed only relate to emissions intensity (emissions relative to production) rather than absolute emissions (total emissions). They also don’t include scope 3 emissions, downstream emissions created from the processing of the company’s iron ore and lithium, or those that would be generated when the gas Mineral Resources plans to produce is burned.
When shareholders asked about Mineral Resources’ emissions targets, Wade said the company could ‘commit to publishing something quite significant on that within the next six months.’
However the devil is in the detail. Investors must call on Mineral Resources to set Paris-aligned absolute emissions reduction targets, which cover its entire value chain, and rule out its planned move into gas production. If Mineral Resources continues to pursue plans that are not in line with a safe climate, big investors, including our super funds, should divest.