Anglo American and Rio Tinto have committed to the World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining initiative by becoming founding donors to the Climate-Smart Mining Facility.
The Climate-Smart Mining Facility is the first-ever fund dedicated to making mining for metals and minerals a more sustainable practice that complements the global energy transition, according to Anglo.
Building on the World Bank’s initial $2 million investment, Anglo American and Rio have joined governments (the German government being one) as a donor. Anglo said it would provide $1 million to the facility over the next five years.
“The facility’s work will support the sustainable extraction and processing of mining products used in developing clean energy technologies, such as copper used in energy storage and electric vehicles,” Anglo said. “The fund will also work with governments and operators in developing countries to establish strategies for sustainable mining operations and legal frameworks that promote smart mining.”
Anglo American said it shares the World Bank’s view that the energy transition will be mineral-intensive, creating economic opportunities for resource-rich countries and the mining sector.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “To have real impact we must work together with governments and operators to bring changes. That is why we are supporting the World Bank with this facility, to provide funds that can transform our industry for the future.
“Mining cannot continue its long path of simply scaling up to supply what the world needs. We need to do things in dramatically different ways if we are to transform our footprint and be valued by all our stakeholders. Our first responsibility is to reduce our energy and water usage, and our emissions.
“At Anglo American, we have set ourselves on a journey to carbon neutrality operationally, with our 2020 and 2030 targets as staging posts. Our FutureSmart Mining™ technologies will be a key driver of this.”
Rio Tinto CEO, J-S Jacques, said: “The transition to clean energy solutions presents both a significant opportunity and responsibility for the mining industry, as it provides the materials that make these technologies possible.
“We want to be part of the solution on climate change and the best solutions will come from innovative partnerships across competitors, governments and institutions. Our collaboration with the World Bank and many others is aimed at making a real difference by promoting sustainable practices across our industry. We look forward to supporting the Climate-Smart Mining Facility by contributing not just funding but also expertise as a leader in sustainable mining practices.”
The World Bank said the facility focuses on “helping resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimises the environmental and climate footprint”.
The facility, which supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals used in clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar power, and batteries for energy storage and electric vehicles, will also assist governments to build a robust policy, regulatory and legal framework that promotes climate-smart mining and creates an enabling environment for private capital, the World Bank said.
Projects may include:
- Supporting the integration of renewable energy into mining operations, given that the mining sector accounts for up to 11% of global energy use and that mining operations in remote areas often rely on diesel or coal;
- Supporting the strategic use of geological data for a better understanding of “strategic mineral” endowments;
- Forest-smart mining: preventing deforestation and supporting sustainable land-use practices; repurposing mine sites, and;
- Recycling of minerals: supporting developing countries to take a circular economy approach and reuse minerals in a way that respects the environment.
Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice at the World Bank, said: “The World Bank supports a low-carbon transition where mining is climate-smart and value chains are sustainable and green. Developing countries can play a leading role in this transition: developing strategic minerals in a way that respects communities, ecosystems and the environment. Countries with strategic minerals have a real opportunity to benefit from the global shift to clean energy.”
The World Bank is targeting a total investment of $50 million, to be deployed over a five-year timeframe.