French bank Credit Agricole has announced it will stop financing coal mining projects or companies due to environmental concerns.
According to the bank, its latest decision to withdraw funding the controversial mountaintop removal (MTR) technique that uses explosives to expose coal seams, as lenders are reluctant to fund such projects due to the possible impact on the environment.
Environmental groups pressurising banks to pull funding for coal miners hailed the bank's decision, which was announced at its annual general meeting (AGM) in Lille, France.
At the AGM, Friends of the Earth France (FoE France) challenged the environmental and social impacts of Credit Agricole's investments in the coal sector.
Paul Corbit Brown from Keepers of the Mountains, which accompanied FoE France to the AGM, said: "By supporting Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources, which count among the top three mining companies active in MTR, Crédit Agricole participates in the destruction of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.
"The coal industry uses more than 3,000t of explosives daily to blow-up our mountains, burying thousands of miles of rivers and causing rains to spread poisons in our communities.
"MTR is not just an environmental crime but is a real danger to people, and we are seeing cancer cases multiply."
In April, the UK's banking and financial services company Barclay's announced that it would no longer finance the controversial coal mining technique.
Said to be a form of surface mining, MTR is conducted in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern US.
Image: A mountaintop removal site. Photo: courtesy of JW Randolph.