Over the past few years, the mining industry has been establishing a set of core values and a culture aimed at protecting the environment. To create a greener value chain for a carbon-neutral future and to be noteworthy corporate citizens, many mining companies are progressively focusing on their environmental impacts and the path toward decarbonizing their operations.
A variety of ambitious goals have been announced recently to achieve decarbonization. These can generally be categorized as follows:
- Short term: Within the next 5 to 15 years, reducing carbon emissions by approximately 30% compared to a reference year.
Having short-term objectives is a good strategy in demonstrating proactiveness, as the results of recent actions can be evaluated immediately. For instance, total emissions (absolute value) can show the net impact of implemented projects, as opposed to the intensity of emissions (per unit of production), which demonstrates the efficiency of the changes applied throughout overall operations.
- Long term: Mid-century, for instance, is generally accepted as the timeline for ambitious objectives to remove all carbon emissions.
This can be defined in a variety of ways: A net-zero carbon emissions target means that operations will emit no carbon at all (e.g., a building running entirely on wind-generated power), whereas a carbon-neutral emissions target indicates that operations will offset the total amount of carbon emissions on an annual basis.
Most major companies have set targets to reduce their Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (purchased electricity, heat and steam) emissions and are strategizing for their Scope 3 (indirect) emissions. Considering the urgency of the matter, developing tangible action plans now is a top priority.