Media release

Welcome news: South32 walks away from Dendrobium expansion

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR)  is commenting on South32’s announcement to the market that it will not proceed with the Dendrobium metallurgical coal mine in the Illawarra.

Commenting on South32’s announcement, Naomi Hogan, Strategic Projects Lead at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“This is an extremely welcome announcement from South32, particularly as CEO Graham Kerr has stated the company will instead reserve the ~US$700m capex for mining projects that are supportive of the energy transition.

“The alternative mine options considered due to the major risks the original plan posed to Sydney’s drinking water catchment have undermined the project’s economics.

“The fact that South32 is walking away rather than lobbying to revert to the original mine plan is a great outcome for the people of Sydney and investors who would have been carrying the risks associated with this project.

“There were some concerning signs of corporate and political influence on the process to get the Dendrobium mine extension classified as State Significant Infrastructure in order to avoid the Independent Planning Commission process. This outcome renders those efforts null and void.

“As coal mining recedes in the Illawarra region, the community must be prioritised by South32 and the NSW government to ensure transition opportunities are maximised as the region diversifies.

“This outcome should provide a further driver for Bluescope Steel to accelerate its ambition for green steel processing opportunities going forward.

“South32 is providing shareholders with a vote on its climate transition plan at its October AGM. The company’s decision to no longer pursue this coal mine expansion and to prioritise future facing metals bodes well for what investors might expect from this plan.”

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