SA’s Standard Bank to reduce coal mine financing following policy publication

SOUTH African lender Standard Bank Group expected to reduce its financing of thermal coal projects “over time” in line with national agendas on emissions.

Commenting in its Thermal Coal Mining Policy published today, the bank also said it would not finance coal mining activities that removed mountain tops.

The policy statement follows Coal Fired Power Finance Policy last year in which it only agreed to finance in future ultra super-critical power stations where emissions were less than 750g CO²/kWh and considered ineligible supercritical power stations generating 500MW or more.

Commenting on its coal financing policy, the bank said that it  “… expected to reduce over time in line with the expected reduction in the contribution of thermal coal to the energy mix of the countries within which we operate”. This was in line with a “just transition” to a reduce GHG emission level as per the Paris Agreement.

According to the South African government’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) a roadmap document aimed at setting out how the country’s energy will be supplied by 2030, thermal coal will be 59% of the energy pie by 2030 down from over 85% today.

Standard Bank’s Thermal Coal Mining Policy will apply to new coal mining projects as well as expansions of existing facilities owned by both project developers, as well as mining industry corporates. It didn’t name companies but this would presumably include the likes of Anglo American and Glencore as well as Resource Generation, a coal development firm.

“Locally, Standard Bank and its climate-conscious investors have set an encouraging precedent in the fight for climate justice,” said Tracey Davies, director of Just Share, a non-government organisation.