Barclays stops funding mountain-top removal coal mining process

8 April 2015 (Last Updated April 8th, 2015 18:30)

UK banking and financial services company Barclays, the largest financier of the mountain-top removal (MTR) in 2013, has announced it will no longer finance the controversial coal mining method.

MTR Site

UK banking and financial services company Barclays, the largest financier of the mountain-top removal (MTR) in 2013, has announced it will no longer finance the controversial coal mining method.

In a policy document released in March, the company said it will stop supporting companies that use MTR unless they commit to moving out of it within a timeframe.

Said to be widely used in the Appalachian mountains in the eastern US, the toxic coal mining practice involves blasting and shifting the tops of hills and mountains to expose the coal beneath.

Climate campaigners and local activists in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia in the US opposed MTR due to its environmental impact say that it will pollute watercourses and affect the climate.

"The toxic coal mining practice involves blasting and shifting the tops of hills and mountains to expose the coal beneath."

Use of mountain-top removal, which has also been linked to severe health impacts, has been marginalised economically by falling US shale gas prices.

A Barclays spokeswoman told the Guardian that the company has never directly funded any MTR projects or developments.

In the MTR process, removing the land or overburden above the seams allows miners to extract coal from a mountain, a process that is employed in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern US.

In order to remove up to 400 vertical feet of mountain, explosives are used to expose underlying coal seams and excess rock and soil is dumped into nearby valleys.


Image: A picture of a mountain-top removal site. Photo: courtesy of JW Randolph.