Fossil fuel multinationals vigorously rejected a high-profile complaint, accusing them of tampering with official documents.
Anglo American and Peabody Energy recently denied federal parliamentary allegations that they amended coal sample certificates to seem more environmentally friendly.
A Peabody spokeswoman said her employer “strenuously denied” whistleblower claims that the company made unjustified changes to coal certificates.
An Anglo spokeswoman not only dismissed the insider’s remarks as completely false but even contacted the federal government to set the record straight.
“We take these matters very seriously and, when issues surrounding testing were first reported by media in early 2020, we undertook an investigation which found no evidence that any of our cargoes had been impacted. We have communicated with Mr Andrew Wilkie’s [electoral] office to ensure he has correct information,” she said according to the Australian Associated Press.
ALS, on the other hand, came clean about manually amending between 45 per cent and half of coal analysis certificates without proper “justification” at its Emerald, Mackay, Gladstone and Newcastle locations since 2017.
“No evidence of bribery or other third-party payments involving ALS staff has been found or indicated,” the company said in a public statement.
“The four most-senior staff of the coal superintending and certification unit were suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation. The employment of the general manager [of] coal services has since been terminated and the other three staff are no longer employed by the business.”
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will not penalise ALS for its questionable conduct.
“ASIC has provided written correspondence dated the 25th of October, informing the company that it has concluded the investigation – and has decided that it will not take any enforcement action against ALS, its subsidiaries or its current officers and employees,” ALS said.
The remarks came after the independent federal member for Clark went public with whistleblower allegations and leaked documents implicating Peabody, Anglo, Glencore, TerraCom Resources, ALS and Macquarie Bank. Wilkie accused the businesses of boosting profits through preventing shipments from being rejected at their destinations.
“Coal companies operating in Australia are using fraudulent quality reports for their exports and paying bribes to representatives of their overseas customers to keep the whole scam secret,” he said according to the newswire agency.
“It is a mystery why everyone from the federal police and ASIC have not acted on this whistleblower’s concerns – he is a senior coal executive, these are legitimate documents he has [and] it seems to be quite a failure of those organisations to do their job.”
Federal Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King has requested “briefings” from both ASIC and the Australian Department of Industry, Science and Resources.