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Demand for coal could drop due to Russia-Ukraine tension says analyst

Glencore coal

One of Europe’s largest armed conflicts in modern times could accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, an expert warned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposed invasion of Ukraine might reduce demand for coal and prompt nations to find clean energy sources sooner than expected. This is Wood Mackenzie’s dire outlook for the commodity.

“As time goes by, there will be an increasing push to renewables in Europe. If we see a faster energy transition that might offset any incremental [coal] demand offered to Australia by way of Russia out of the market,” principal coal analyst Viktor Tanevski said according to Fairfax Media.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) revealed at least one mining giant recently stopped investing in new coal operations.

“Glencore is not investing in new coal projects [and] its growth pipeline of projects shows none in coal,” CFMEU national research director Peter Colley said in a public statement.

“Glencore really is ‘making hay while the sun shines’ or making good profits out of coal due to a major price spike, but is not planning on a long-term future in coal.”

Colley speculates this is part of a growing movement where more employers pledge to meet net-zero emissions targets by the year 2050.

“These targets mean the company plans to shift out of coal production over that time, period,” he said.

The Queensland Government separately refused to grant a mineral development licence for Fox Resources’ Bundaberg Coal Project.

State Resources Minister Scott Stewart claimed agricultural and environmental concerns outweighed the benefits of job creation and royalty revenue growth.

“There is significant adverse community sentiment about this mineral development licence. This is particularly in relation to the potential negative environmental, agricultural and social impacts in the Bundaberg region,” he said in a public statement.

“Fox has not adequately demonstrated to me they can resolve or offset the public’s concerns.”

Anti-coal activists from Lock the Gate Alliance applauded the minister for hammering the project’s “final nail in the coffin”.

“This is a great example of a minister listening to a regional community, who were saying very clearly that they did not support a coal mine in a coastal farming region that relies on tourism,” supporter Judy Plath said in a public statement.

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