Mining’s sustainable future
An interview with Thomas Schulz, Group CEO, FLSmidth
Restructuring the mining industry to adopt more sustainable practices will require plenty of hard work and cooperation between corporations, governments and local communities. But FLSmidth sees this as an opportunity to develop innovative and more productive solutions for its mining customers.
The drive for greater sustainability represents a major opportunity for the mining industry in that people are more and more questioning where things are coming from, and so it is a chance for mining companies and the companies that supply key equipment, technology and services to the mining industry, to be more transparent and show what they do and how they do it. And to show how there is a clear environmental and social influence on everything that the industry does.
However, mining is an industry not a charity, so it is important to remember that whatever sustainability steps are taken, it has to be done in the right way to still ensure that operations are profitable, as that will help drive more sustainability going forward. A good example is better education and training, an important part of the social aspect of sustainability in terms of well paid and long term careers but it also means better operators and engineers, which makes operations more efficient. Likewise as less water is used and better recycled, it is better for both sustainability but also for profitability.
The mining industry is risk aware and conservative in terms of major sustainability advances, but at the same time has to move in this direction as mining has a major impact on the land and communities where it operates. Transparency is key, people need to be better informed – even mobile phones rely on mined resources and someone has to produce them.