Blaschaks coal and coal clothing, from the blaschy-sweet to the deadly, are among the hottest commodities around, according to the world’s largest mining company.
It’s also one of the most dangerous.
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, mining company Goldcorp says it uses more toxic materials and processes that are more damaging than previously thought.
The company says it is using a variety of environmentally-friendly methods to ensure it doesn’t create any environmental harm, including the use of a more durable material called “recyclable” coal and a more environmentally-sustainable method of extracting coal from shale rock.
“As an energy company, we have always been driven by the principle that our goal is to minimize harm,” said David Stott, CEO of Goldcorps subsidiary Freeport-McMoRan.
“But in the case of our mining operation, we are concerned that our use of coal is leading to greater and greater levels of environmental harm.”
Freeport is the world leader in coal mining, producing more than 300 billion pounds of the fuel annually, and producing more coal than any other company in the United States.
In 2016, Freeport completed a $1.4 billion expansion to a plant in Wyoming that produces 3.2 billion pounds a year.
The expansion brought the plant’s output to 4.4 million tons a day, or nearly half of Freeport’s total coal production, according the company.
The environmental impact of the new expansion is still being determined, but Freeport says it will likely lead to more coal mining jobs in the future.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that Freeport could potentially create tens of thousands of jobs by 2040, and the company has pledged to phase out its coal mining operations by 2025.
In the United Kingdom, Freepas coal mines are estimated to employ 5,000 people, with some 1,000 of them at the company’s existing mine.
Freeport has since been ordered to pay $6.2 million in fines to the EPA and other countries, and was ordered to clean up its coal mine by 2020.
In its latest study, Freeps findings suggest that using coal as a source of power will only be beneficial in a short time.
It said that the mining company should “reduce its coal consumption in order to increase its power generation capacity.”
A second study from Freep’s subsidiary, Teneo Holdings, said that mining companies would be better off focusing on renewables in the near future.
“In order to be able to provide for future climate change, we need to use all renewable sources of energy, including solar and wind,” Teneos research said.
“These sources are not only less expensive, but also are less harmful to the environment.”