Sustainable Coal is part of the Solution

Christopher Demetriou

11 Apr 2022

A major global mining conference in South America has been told that current global energy vulnerabilities can be minimised through sustainable mining and open minds.

Speaking at the Latin American Mining Conference on Friday 8 April, World Coal Association CEO, Michelle Manook, said the recent scourge of energy challenges which included shortages, blockages, price surges and geopolitical shifts, showed how essential it is to balance the Energy Trilemma affordability, security, and sustainability.

Balancing the Energy Trilemma will only be achieved by accepting that all fuels and all technologies are needed to meet climate change targets and by allowing individual countries to choose their own emissions abatement solutions and timelines. That is how the Paris Agreement was designed and we need to return to those terms of reference without prejudice.”

Ms Manook said companies which are integrating sustainable mining principles into their business practices, particularly, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), are delivering economic improvement and social capacity alongside climate goals.

When these standards are responsibly executed, its a win-win for governments, companies, and the community through royalties, taxes, shareholder returns, job creation, and socio-economic improvement.”

Ms Manook said COP26 had proven that fossil fuels such as coal will have a relevant role in the future through technological transformation, and it was time to acknowledge its place in delivering sustainable solutions.

Countries which have chosen coal as part of their outlook, have also chosen abatement technologies to complement it. There is a raft of clean technologies which are endorsed by climate science and currently in deployment, but it will take time, and money, for these to scale up. 

This is not a race. Its a destination. There needs to be an acknowledgment that we all have different starting points and different finishing times. We also have different solutions. If we take a sustainable approach, our shared goals will be realised, and in ways that are much less fraught.”