Japan’s trading houses offload thermal coal assets amid climate concerns

TOKYO, June 13 (Reuters) – Japanese trading houses including top-ranked Mitsubishi Corp are offloading thermal coal assets on growing concerns about the fuel’s environmental impact, in a move also reflecting a shift in their focus to the more profitable coking coal. With networks spanning the globe, trading houses are trying to mitigate global criticism around the harm the fuel causes. Japan, which had to burn record amounts of the dirtiest fossil fuel to generate power after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 paralysed its nuclear sector, seeks to slash its carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2030 from 2013 levels. Among recent thermal coal asset sales by Japanese trading houses is Mitsubishi’s decision to offload its minority stakes in Hunter Valley Operations and Warkworth mine in Australia, tagging along with Rio Tinto’s sale of those assets. Last week, miner-trader Glencore said it had offered $2.55 billion cash for the Rio mines, outbidding an offer from Chinese-owned Yancoal. “We’ve decided to sell … to whichever of the two bidders wins the bid,” Mitsubishi said on Tuesday. Yancoal has offered to buy Mitsubishi’s stakes for $940 million, while Glencore has offered $920 million cash. Mitsubishi is also considering selling a stake in the

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