Rio investors asked to push miner to leave Minerals Council of Australia

(Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.)

Shareholders of world’s second largest miner Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) are being recruited to demand the company quit Australia’s top mining lobby group.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is looking to persuade about 100 investors to co-file a resolution at Rio Tinto’s upcoming annual general meeting, in which it will ask the group to leave the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), The Guardian reported.

ACCR believes MCA’s lobbying efforts mostly undermine the interests of Rio Tinto, as body continues to lobby for more coal and use of fossil fuels, and still believe this is the future of energy.

“Rio Tinto and the MCA’s positions on climate change and energy policy drift further apart every year,” ACCR said in a statement. “We have now reached a point where the MCA’s lobbying efforts in many ways undermine the interests of Rio Tinto. Put simply, the MCA is lobbying for more coal and use of fossil fuels, and still believe this is the future of energy,” it said.

Last year, the same group called BHP shareholders to push for a termination of all paid annual memberships in industry groups whose views on climate change and energy policy conflict with the miner’s own views.

In particular, ACCR asked BHP to leave the MCA and for to disclose payments made for direct or indirect lobbying relating to climate and energy policy.

The move led BHP to review its membership of trade associations, and announce its withdrawal from World Coal Association (WCA) and the US Chamber of Commerce.

BHP also said at the time it would leave the mineral council if it did not change its lobbying practices in relation to coal.

The ACCR’s chief executive, Brynn O’Brien, said the centre was in talks with Rio Tinto on the matter and that no decision would be made on filing the resolution until the last minute.

The annual general meeting for Rio Tinto plc will be held in London on April 11, while the one for Rio Tinto Limited will be held in Melbourne on May 2.

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