Mitsui to trim thermal coal assets amid climate concerns -CEO

miércoles 11 de mayo de 2016 04:01 GYT

TOKYO May 11 (Reuters) - Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co plans to trim its thermal coal investments amid growing pressure worldwide for companies to cut reliance on the fossil fuel after last year's landmark climate pact in Paris, its president said on Wednesday.

Mitsui owns mine stakes that had an equivalent annual output of about 13.5 million tonnes in the year ended March 31, and it expects that figure to drop to 9 million tonnes in three years.

"Considering the result of the global climate summit, we basically plan to reduce thermal coal assets," Mitsui President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tatsuo Yasunaga told an analyst meeting on Wednesday.

Global leaders clinched a climate-protection deal in Paris in December to transform the world's fossil-fuel driven economy, and calls have grown since for the global power sector and other industries to reduce coal use.

Under the pact, Japan, the world's No.5 emitter of carbon dioxide, has agreed to cut greenhouse emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels by 2030, but it has come under pressure for not doing more to reduce its dependence on coal.

"We will consider reducing thermal coal output or selling stakes in thermal coal mines," Yasunaga said, although adding that Mitsui will continue to invest in coking coal assets.

The Tokyo-based company agreed in 2014 to buy stakes in Vale's Moatize coking coal mine and port project in Mozambique for $763 million, and is now planning to close the deal by March 2017, according to Yasunaga.

"We are working on a finance deal with Vale and we expect to close the deal soon," he said.

As for a final investment decision (FID) on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the coast of Mozambique, Yasunaga said negotiations with the local government are in final stages. He did not project an exact timing of FID, but said he expects "an advancement" in the process by next March.   Continuación...