The bodies in charge of the Church of England's investment strategy have warned they may sell up their holdings in miners, unless the companies in question commit to changing how they do business.
In a new policy launched by the Church's National Investing Bodies (NIBs), which include the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the CBF Church of England Funds, they warned of "key ethical concerns" over miners, including how they manage risk, their effects on communities and national economies, and their operating standards.
The NIBs said they will assess whether "dialogue and engagement" with companies will lead to change, but added that they may be pushed to divest from companies if their attempts at dialogue are "rebuffed or clearly not leading to progress".
"Disinvestment applies in cases where companies are unresponsive to investor concerns, require a disproportionate level of engagement and / or pose too great an ethical risk to warrant continued engagement," it said.
The policy raised particular concerns about ownership structures such as joint ventures, which can lead to different corporate reporting standards.
"Companies carry enormous responsibility and joint ventures raise serious questions around standards of reporting and operation," said Adam Matthews, head of engagement for the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board.
"This policy makes clear that we consider a company to have responsibility for both its direct and in-direct operations and that we will be engaging with them on that basis."