What’s ahead for the Minerals Council of Australia?

07 October 2017 11:25 am

There’s no doubting the power of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Bankrolled by mining giants like BHP, Rio and Swiss-owned coal giant Glencore it will launch campaigns and destroy politician that don’t fit in with its agenda.

Witness the way it got rid sitting Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, from office with its $22 million advertising blitz

And then there was the way the leader of the National Party, Brendon Grylls, lost his seat in the WA state elections when the mining lobby spent $5 million to defeat his party's proposed mining tax at the ballot box.

But the Minerals Council is now facing some big decisions with BHP Billiton reviewing its membership with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility putting forward a resolution ahead of BHP's annual meeting in November, asking the miner to review its membership of the MCA, citing inconsistencies between the company’s policies on green issues and the MCA's lobbying positions.

Add to that the departure of Minerals Council CEO Brendan Pearson, a nine-year veteran of the mining industry's successful battles to stop the former Labor government's mining tax and carbon tax after BHP Billiton put its membership up for review. "BHP has got their man," said a source told the Australian Financial Review. "BHP and Rio Tinto were not always comfortable with his coal advocacy".

BHP Billiton is now under pressure to make sure the next CEO delivers significant policy change.

How will this balance up with the MCA – and its state-based satellites the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and the NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) supporting public subsidies for Adani’s Carmichael mine, an unneeded coal power station in Queensland, the one banks refuse to fund, and the unabated brown coal plant in Victoria and opposing AGL’s planned 2022 shutdown of the Liddell plant in New South Wales?

None of these are compatible with Australia’s commitments under the Paris Agreement, which BHP has stated it supports.

Watch this space.