What does the MCA stand for? Mainly Coal Advocacy

A new report from The Australia Institute shows that the Minerals Council of Australia’s coal advocacy is out of all proportion with its members’ interests

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) represents companies that mine a wide range of minerals, yet delivers three times more media coverage for coal than for any other mineral.

Analysis of MCA media over the last year saw it mentioned in 1,594 stories featuring coal and just 511 featuring iron ore, the next highest.

Figure 1: Media mentioning “Minerals Council” and…

Graph showing mentions of coal compared to other minerals

Source: The Australia Institute analysis of Meltwater data

“Context is important here. Iron ore is Australia’s largest export and the main focus of the MCA’s two biggest members, BHP and Rio Tinto. Yet the MCA pushes coal day in, day out,” said Director of Research at The Australia Institute, Rod Campbell.

“Two thirds of the MCA’s member companies don’t mine coal at all. Only three of the MCA’s members – Adani, Centennial and New Hope – are focused 100% on thermal coal for power stations.”

“Over the past year, the MCA has focused overwhelmingly on opposing the Clean Energy Target and promoting government support to new coal power.”

The ‘Big Two’ companies dominating the MCA membership, BHP and Rio Tinto, are estimated to produce less than six percent of total revenue from thermal coal. The Big Two, and a number of other MCA members, are pulling back from coal.

Figure 2: Estimated ‘Big Two’ Australian revenue (A$ billions)

Graph showing revenue of Rio Tinto and BHP

Source: See Appendix 2.

AGL, Australia’s biggest energy company and biggest greenhouse gas polluter, recently left the MCA citing disagreements over climate and energy policy.

BHP has also cited disagreements with the MCA over climate and energy policy, and has promised to review its membership.

“Even stories mentioning renewables and the MCA far exceeded stories on other minerals.

“The MCA’s coal obsession represents poor value for those fee-paying members who mine other minerals,” Campbell said.

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