Environmentalists have called for the suspension of all mining activity at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu following confirmation of a recent collapse in a new ventilation shaft at the embattled site.
There is mounting pressure on those who continue to invest in coal. Stanford University has succumbed to a student campaign, joining a growing number of US colleges which have divested from coal companies. Shareholders at the Bank of America AGM considered a resolution requesting the bank to report carbon emissions stemming from financing of carbon-intensive industries. The resolution focussed on the potential for "stranded assets" resulting from a changing climate, but the more direct environmental impacts were also raised. Australia is set to close yet more mines as coking coal prices have slumped to six-year lows.
According to the Australian environmental action group, Rising Tide Newcastle, there are 34 coal mine proposals currently before the New South Wales Planning Department, most of which would produce coal for export through a fourth terminal at Newcastle (T4). Newcastle is the largest coal export port in the world, and its expansion will add 66 million tonnes per year export capacity if allowed to go ahead. BHP Billiton is among those planning to utilise the port; the company is also the world's biggest exporter of coking coal.
In a further take-down of the claims of BHP Billiton and other coal companies that continued investment in coal is required to lift billions out of poverty, the Ulu (leader) of the Pacific Island nation of Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Kuresa Nasau, has written to the worlds biggest miner to challenge their claims. In the letter, the Ulu invited BHP Billiton’s President of Coal, Dean Dalla Valle to come to Tokelau to see the effects of climate change first hand.
The Australian Green Party has obtainedinformation from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealing that the Australian government is now being advised by Rio Tinto – which to this day dodges war crime allegations over its former role on Bougainville.