Jul 12, 2023

Purposeful planning for mining decarbonization

  • Article
  • Decarbonization
  • Strategy
  • mining

Based on current worldwide policies, climate projections are estimated to result in about 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels.1 Increased GHG emissions from human activity, including heavy industry, is one of the leading contributors to the temperature rate increase. As unprecedented heat waves, fires and floods are being witnessed around the world, global social awareness of climate change is rising quickly. This is putting tremendous focus on environmental initiatives and driving action toward sustainable investments in greener energy.

  1. 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.

  2. Naturally, the following question comes up: How important is a reliable action plan?

    It provides clarity and vision:

    • A corporate vision, mission and values will serve as a true north.
    • A clear set of objectives.

    It ensures collaboration and alignment:

    • Multistakeholder engagements take time to coordinate.
    • Parties affected by change must take ownership down the line.
    • Defining incentives together engages all levels of an organization (corporate, operations, supervisory, etc.).
    • Investment needs are accepted.
    • A vision of the timeline and expected results is established.
  3. Elements that make up a solid decarbonization plan include:

    • Flexibility: A variety of external constraints are constantly evolving over time (mine lifespan, business growth, available resources and capital, etc.), which requires adaptive solutions.
    • Attainable objectives: Demonstrating results is a first step in securing trust from investors and stakeholders.
    • Dynamic governance: Enabling communication throughout the organization and among all acting members at all levels makes it easier to incorporate adaptation mechanisms based on the solutions implemented.
    • Collaboration among partners: Developing teams based on trust will enable fast and efficient deployment of activities required for short- and long-term objectives.
    • Corporate ambition for sustainability: Successfully attaining ambitious decarbonization targets requires the commitment of an entire organization that will last over time.
    • Integrated innovation: Some decarbonization solutions depend on products and technologies that are still under development. As such, collaboration with manufacturers, research industries and other mines is key to accelerating the commercializing and implementation of decarb-ready products.
  4. Key takeaways

    The three key takeaways for efficient decarbonization planning are:

    1. Have the right advisors to guide discussions and gather information.
    2. Engage the right stakeholders within the organization.
    3. Put together a flexible plan that allows for change over time.

    Coming up with a decarbonization plan can be daunting. There are so many components involved and companies can quickly become overwhelmed by all the steps. BBA’s team of advisors have the expertise to assist mining clients in developing their decarbonization plans. We’re here to support you, so contact us. We’d love to help!

    Keep your eyes peeled for the second part of this blog article that will provide more insight on how to develop a reliable action plan.

  5. Reference


This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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