Picture: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY
Picture: REUTERS/DAVID GRAY

Melbourne — BHP Group has suspended its membership of an Australian state mining lobby group that has campaigned against the Greens political party ahead of an election this month in coal-rich Queensland state.

Global miner South32 also said it has formally raised concerns with the group, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), about campaigning aimed at a particular political party.

A third global miner, Anglo American Plc, is reviewing its membership, a source familiar with the matter said, seeking anonymity in the absence of authorisation to speak on the matter.

In a statement, BHP said it has expressed its opposition several times and formally requested withdrawal of the approach that targeted a political party before suspending its membership.

This week, the QRC, which groups 167 companies, stepped up its advocacy against the environment-focused Greens.

“The QRC is urging voters at this month’s state election to back a strong economic recovery after Covid-19 by putting job security first and the Greens last on their ballot paper,” it said on Monday.

Responding to BHP’s move, QRC president Brent Gunther said its board had thought carefully about campaigning against the Greens, as it believes the party will cut jobs for the resources sector.

“The resources industry will continue to support the economy and jobs of Queenslanders, despite the Greens wanting to shut the industry down,” Gunther, an MD at Intergen, which runs two coal-fired power plants in Queensland, said in a statement.

However, state Greens member Michael Berkman said the party supported more jobs in the mining industry, particularly for new energy minerals, in its push for a planned transition away from thermal coal and gas by 2030.

“The best job for a coal miner is another mining job,” he said.

Incumbent Labour leader Annastacia Palaszczuk is ahead in the polls, with a YouGov poll showing 52% support for her government ahead of the October 31 election in Queensland, against 48% for the conservative Liberal party. 

Reuters

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