Coal companies revealed in investor list

Environmental groups have compiled a list of nearly 800 companies involved in the coal industry.

A new list of companies operating across all aspects of the coal industry aims to shed light on where people wanting to make environment-based investments should - and shouldn't - send their money.

The Global Coal Exit List, released on Thursday at the UN climate conference, has more than 770 companies on it, including 71 Australian companies, with power company AGL and miner BHP Billiton the biggest.

The hundreds of companies account for nearly nine in 10 of the world's coal mines and power stations, along with exploration businesses, specialist machinery suppliers and coal power-plant manufacturers.

It also looks at these companies' plans for new coal mines and power stations, revealing some businesses which haven't traditionally been in coal, but plan to invest in coming years.

Heffa Schuckling, from project leader German environmental group Urgewald, said it wasn't always easy for investors to know who was involved in the coal industry.

She's hoping the list will give individuals and - more importantly - big investors like superannuation funds the information they need to work out where to send their money.

Urgewald started compiling the list after working with two of the world's largest investors, the Norwegian government pension fund and Allianz to divest their coal interests.

However, Ms Schucking said while they have looked at future expansions, they didn't take into account plans for companies to get out of coal, such as AGL's widely publicised efforts to close power plants by 2050.

"The database is full of hard data not soft data," she told reporters on Bonn.

"AGL, right after they bought assets which led a huge increase of their coal-fired capacity, they said, 'oh and by the way we're getting out of coal by 2050'. That's not so credible."

AGL has come under fire from the Turnbull government for its intention to close the ageing, dirty Liddell power station in 2022.

The power company has promised to give the government in early December its plans to replace the generator's capacity, expected to include renewables, gas-fired power and batteries.

The coal exit list also highlights that resources-rich Australia is also a prime target for foreign coal companies, with 32 having operations in Australia.

These include eight out of the top 20 coal miners and two of the biggest 10 coal power companies.


* AGL - biggest coal power company with 5200MW of capacity

* BHP Billiton biggest coal miner (22nd largest in world) producing 77 million tonnes from mines in Australia, Colombia and USA.

* 71 Australian companies listed

* 60 of them in coal mining or exploration

* 27 active in expanding coal mines overseas

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