BHP has issued a Letter of Commitment to the Copper Mark Responsible Production Framework that will see its Escondida and Spence operations in Chile, plus its Olympic Dam mine in Australia, fall in line with the voluntary program.
The Copper Mark is a credible assurance framework to demonstrate the copper industry’s responsible production practices and contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, BHP said. The program is designed to hold the copper industry accountable to responsible practices in critical areas including environment, community, human rights and governance issues, according to BHP Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers.
“We know that our long-term sustainability credentials are important to our customers and increasingly important to end consumers of copper products, such as buyers of electric vehicles and copper intensive consumer durables,” Hovers said. “The Copper Mark accreditation is an important step in developing an industry-wide approach to transparency and standards for the copper value chain.”
This year, the Oyu Tolgoi mine, in Mongolia, and the Kennecott operation, in the US, were both awarded the Copper Mark. Freeport McMoRan has also pledged to fall in line with the program at six of its operations.
Hovers added: “The Copper Mark is an independent and credible certification, and will further reinforce the value responsible production of the copper products that we sell to our customers.”
BHP has set targets to reduce its emissions by 30% by 2030, along with a goal of net zero emissions by 2050, Hovers said. In Chile, at Escondida, the company is also aiming to operate using 100% renewable power and 100% desalinated water.
“We know that copper is essential to the energy transition, but equally important to our customers, our investors, our employees, our communities, and our stakeholders across the copper value chain is ethical and sustainable production of copper – where production is in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals,” Hovers said.
BHP’s operated copper assets involved in this transition – Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam – represented 1.5 Mt of copper production in the miner’s 2020 financial year.