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Liberty Mutual draws heat over Australian coal mining project



(Reuters) – UNPRI, a UN network supporting sustainable investment, examines Liberty Mutual's signatory status after receiving a complaint that US insurers are supporting a coal project in Australia that has set fire to communities worried about climate change and pollutants.

Rescue Dawson Action Group filed a formal complaint asking the UNPRI Board to cooperate with Liberty Mutual to ensure that it withdraws an application to develop the Baralaba South Coal Mine, 500 kilometers northwest of Brisbane State of Queensland, before the end of the month, in Paul Stephenson.

UNPRI's CEO Fiona Reynolds told Reuters on Thursday that Liberty Mutual's expulsion from the group was a possible conclusion after its review is complete. The insurer formally signed UNPRI principles in December last year.

"The (complaints group) complaint will now be implemented and will go through our internal process," Reynolds said. "Ultimately, a complaint goes to the PRI board and may result in a signatory being delisted."

Liberty Mutual was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman told local media in January that the company recognized the risk of climate change on the planet and took action to to reduce CO2 emissions for the project, which would provide hundreds of jobs in a rural area.

The Baralaba South project is expected to produce 5 million tonnes per year of a type of coal most commonly used in steelmaking but which can also be used for power.

Liberty Mutual has faced a backlash from community groups, Aboriginal traditional owners and farmers who oppose the development of the mine, which they say will exacerbate climate change and pose a risk of contamination of local waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.

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