UPDATE 1-BHP freezes membership of Australian state mining lobby over Greens campaign

(Adds comments of QRC, Greens; paragraphs 7-11)

MELBOURNE, Oct 7 (Reuters) - BHP Group Ltd has suspended its membership of an Australian state mining lobby group that has campaigned against the Greens political party ahead of an election this month in coal-rich Queensland state.

Global miner South32 Ltd also said it had formally raised concerns with the group, the Queensland Resources Council, about campaigning aimed at a particular political party.

A third global miner, Anglo American Plc, is reviewing its membership, a source familiar with the matter said, seeking anonymity in the absence of authorisation to speak on the matter.

In a statement, BHP said it had expressed its opposition several times and formally requested withdrawal of the approach that targeted a political party before suspending its membership.

This week, the Queensland Resources Council, which groups 167 companies, stepped up its advocacy against the environment-focused Greens.

“The Queensland Resources Council is urging voters at this month’s state election to back a strong economic recovery post-COVID by putting job security first and the Greens last on their ballot paper,” it said on Monday.

Responding to BHP’s move, QRC president Brent Gunther said its board had thought carefully about campaigning against the Greens, as it believed the party would cut jobs for the resources sector.

“The resources industry will continue to support the economy and jobs of Queenslanders, despite the Greens wanting to shut the industry down,” Gunther, a managing director at Intergen, which runs two coal-fired power plants in Queensland, said in a statement.

However, state Greens member Michael Berkman said the party supported more jobs in the mining industry, particularly for new energy minerals, in its push for a planned transition away from thermal coal and gas by 2030.

“The best job for a coal miner is another mining job,” he told Reuters.

Incumbent Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk is ahead in the polls, with a Yougov poll showing 52% support for her government ahead of the Oct. 31 election in Queensland, against 48% for the conservative Liberal party. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Clarence Fernandez)


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