Tag Archives: emissions

Rio Tinto backs accelerated Scope 1 and 2 carbon emission cuts with $7.5 billion of investments

Rio Tinto has outlined a new target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target. To achieve this, it is setting aside around $7.5 billion of direct investments between 2022 and 2030.

Unveiled during an investor seminar this week, Rio said a 15% reduction in emissions is now targeted for 2025, five years earlier than previously stated, relative to its 2018 baseline of 32.6 Mt (CO2 equivalent – equity basis).

In recognition of the broader carbon footprint of the commodities it produces, Rio says it will accelerate its investment in R&D and development of technologies that enable its customers to decarbonise. Working in partnership with governments, suppliers, customers, academia and others, Rio intends to continue to develop technologies like ELYSIS™ for carbon-free aluminium and multiple pathways to produce green steel.

To meet additional demand created by the global drive to net zero emissions, Rio Tinto will prioritise growth capital in commodities vital for this transition with an ambition to double growth capital expenditure to about $3 billion a year from 2023, it said.

Rio Tinto can decarbonise, pursue growth and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders due to its strong balance sheet, world-class assets and focus on capital discipline, it explained.

Some key points from the presentation include:

  • Decarbonisation of the Pilbara will be accelerated by targeting the rapid deployment of 1 GW of wind and solar power. This would abate around 1 Mt of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure and support early electrification of mining equipment;
  • Full electrification of the Pilbara system, including all trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations, will require further gigawatt-scale renewable deployment and advances in fleet technologies
  • Options to provide a greener steelmaking pathway for Pilbara iron ore are being investigated, including with biomass and hydrogen;
  • Options are progressing to switch the Boyne Island and Tomago smelters in Australia to renewable energy, which will require an estimated circa-5 GW (equity basis) of solar and wind power, along with a robust “firming solution”;
  • Development of ELYSIS to eliminate carbon emissions from the smelting process is progressing, with commercial scale technology on track for 2024.

Yamana Gold retains electrification path for Wasamac in new study

Yamana Gold has reiterated a plan to minimise the amount of carbon emissions generated with the development and operation of the Wasamac gold project in Quebec, Canada, in its first study since acquiring the asset from Monarch Gold.

Monarch, prior to being taken over by Yamana Gold, had laid out plans for an underground mine at Wasamac producing 6,000 t/d, on average, with an expected mine life of 11 years. It expected to use a Rail-Veyor® electrically powered, remote-controlled underground haulage system in addition to an almost entirely electric fleet of production and development equipment.

The December 2018 feasibility study by BBA indicated the Wasamac deposit hosted a measured and indicated mineral resource of 29.86 Mt at an average grade of 2.7 g/t Au, for a total of 2.6 Moz of gold, and proven and probable mineral reserves of 21.46 Mt at an average grade of 2.56 g/t Au, for a total of 1.8 Moz of gold. The study forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

With drilling, due diligence and further studies, Yamana Gold, in studies forming the new feasibility level studies, has come up with baseline technical and financial aspects of the Wasamac project that, it says, underpin the decision to advance the project to production.

This has resulted in a few changes to the Wasamac plan.

For starters, the company plans to use the extract the now 1.91 Moz of reserves quicker than Monarch’s strategy, with a rapid production ramp-up in the first year followed by sustained gold production of approximately 200,000 oz/y for at least the next four years.

Including the ramp-up phase, average annual production for the first five years of operation is expected to be 184,000 oz, the company said, with life of mine production of 169,000 oz/y. Mill throughput has been increased to 7,000 t/d, on average, but the plant and associated infrastructure were being sized for 7,500 t/d. Production could start up in the December quarter of 2026, the initial capital expense was expected to be $416 million and all-in sustaining costs over the life of mine had been calculated at $828/oz.

The use of a conveyor is still within this plan, but a company spokesperson told IM that Yamana was now considering a conventional belt conveyor rather than the Rail-Veyor system.

Yamana explained: “The optimised materials handling system uses ore passes and haul trucks to transport ore from the production levels to a central underground primary crusher. The haul trucks will be automated to allow haulage to continue between shifts. From the underground crusher, ore will be transported to the crushed-ore stockpile on the surface using a 3-km-long conventional conveyor system in two segments.”

Yamana added: “Using a conveyor rather than diesel trucks to transport ore to surface reduces CO2 emissions by 2,233 t/y, equivalent to taking 500 cars off the road. Over the life of mine, the company expects to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20,000 t.”

The aim to use electric vehicles wherever possible remains in place.

“The Wasamac underground mine is designed to create a safe working environment and reduce consumption of non-renewable energy through the use of electric and high-efficiency equipment,” the company said. “Yamana has selected electric and battery-electric mobile equipment provided that the equipment is available at the required specifications.

“Battery-electric underground haul trucks are not yet available at the required capacity with autonomous operation, so diesel trucks have been selected in combination with the underground conveyor. However, Yamana continues to collaborate with equipment suppliers with the expectation that the desired battery-electric equipment will be available before Wasamac is in operation.”

In tandem with this, the company plans to use a ventilation on demand solution and high-efficiency fans to reduce its power requirements. This will likely rely on an underground LTE network.

“Heating of the underground mine and surface facilities is designed with the assumption of propane burners, but an opportunity exists to extend the natural gas line to the project site,” it added. “Yamana has initiated discussions with the natural gas supplier and will study this opportunity further as the project advances.”

The site for the processing plant and offices is confined to a small footprint strategically located in a naturally concealed area, and the processing plant has been designed with a low profile to minimise the visual impact as well as minimise noise and dust, according to Yamana.

The primary crusher, previously planned to be located on surface, has been moved underground, with the crushed material transported to surface from the underground mining area using conventional conveyors and stored on surface in a covered stockpile to control dust.

Several design improvements to the previous Wasamac plans have also been made to reduce consumption of fresh water to minimise the effect on watersheds, according to Yamana. Underground mine water will be used in the processing plant, minimising the draw of fresh water and reducing the required size of the mill basin pond.

The Wasamac tailings storage strategy is designed to minimise environmental footprint and mitigate risk, it added.

“Around 39% of tailings will be deposited underground as paste fill and 61% of tailings will be pumped as a slurry to the filter plant located approximately 6 km northwest of the processing plant and then hauled to the nearby dry-stack tailings storage facility,” Yamana said.

Strategic phasing of the tailings storage facility design allows for the same footprint as previously planned, even with the increase in mineral reserves, the company clarified. Also, the progressive reclamation plan for this facility minimises the possibility of dust generation and expedites the return of the landscape to its natural state.

HYBRIT partners produce world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall say they have now produced the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron at a pilot scale.

The technological breakthrough in the HYBRIT initiative captures around 90% of emissions in conjunction with steelmaking and is a decisive step on the road to fossil-free steel, the partners say.

The feat from the HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå, Sweden, showed it is possible to use fossil-free hydrogen gas to reduce iron ore instead of using coal and coke to remove the oxygen. Production has been continuous and of good quality, the companies said, with around 100 t made so far.

This is the first time ever that hydrogen made with fossil-free electricity has been used in the direct reduction of iron ore at a pilot scale, according to the HYBRIT partners. The goal, in principle, is to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the steelmaking process by using only fossil-free feedstock and fossil-free energy in all parts of the value chain.

Hydrogen-based reduction is a critical milestone, which paves the way for future fossil-free iron and steelmaking. SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall intend, through HYBRIT, to create the most efficient value chain from the mine to steel, with the aim of being first to market, in 2026, with fossil-free steel at an industrial scale, they say.

Last year, HYBRIT, a joint initiative of SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, began test operations to make hydrogen-reduced sponge iron in the pilot plant built with support from the Swedish Energy Agency. The technology is being constantly developed and the sponge iron that has been successfully made using hydrogen technology is the feedstock for the fossil-free steel of the future, they say.

Jan Moström, President and CEO at LKAB, said: “This is a major breakthrough both for us and for the entire iron and steel industry. LKAB is the future supplier of sponge iron and this is a critical step in the right direction. Progress with HYBRIT enables us to maintain the pace in our transition and, already in 2026, we will begin the switch to industrial-scale production with the first demonstration plant in Gällivare, Sweden. Once LKAB has converted its entire production to sponge iron, we will enable the transition of the steel industry and reduce global emissions by around 35 Mt a year, which corresponds to two thirds of Sweden’s entire emissions. This is the greatest action we can take together for the good of the climate.”

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB, added: “This technological breakthrough is a critical step on the road to fossil-free steel. The potential cannot be underestimated. It means that we can reach climate goals in Sweden and Finland and contribute to reducing emissions across Europe. At the same time, it creates new jobs and export successes. SSAB’s transition means we will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland. High-strength fossil-free steel will also allow us to help our customers to strengthen their competitiveness. As early as this year, we will deliver minor quantities of steel made using hydrogen-based reduction to customers, and in 2026 we will deliver fossil-free steel at a large scale.”

The hydrogen used in the direct reduction process is generated by electrolysis of water with fossil-free electricity, and can be used immediately or stored for later use, according to the partners. In May, HYBRIT began work on building a pilot-scale hydrogen storage facility adjacent to the direct reduction pilot plant in Luleå.

Anna Borg, President and CEO at Vattenfall, said: “Sweden’s and Vattenfall’s fossil-free electricity is a basic requirement for the low carbon footprint of hydrogen-reduced sponge iron. The breakthrough that we can announce today shows in a very real way how electrification contributes to enabling a fossil-free life within a generation.”

Weir-backed report highlights decarbonisation opportunities in mineral processing

An independent report, commissioned by the Weir Group, has highlighted the global mining industry’s energy usage, illuminating where energy is consumed and linking it with opportunities and pathways for sector-wide decarbonisation.

The report analyses mine energy use from over 40 published studies, centred on five commodities – copper, gold, iron ore, nickel and lithium. For these five metals, it finds comminution – the crushing and grinding of rocks – alone accounts for 25% of final energy consumption at an ‘average’ mine site. Extended across all hard-rock mining, this is equivalent to up to 1% of total final energy consumption globally.

The report reconfirms comminution as a key target for energy and emissions reduction efforts.

These findings align with the mission of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), a global initiative to accelerate eco-efficient minerals, with a focus on energy-efficient comminution. It also extends on previous CEEC messaging, indicating up to 3% of global electrical energy is used in comminution when considering all mined commodities, quarrying and cement production.

In addition to optimising comminution, the report also highlights other energy and emissions reduction opportunities such as the redesign of grinding circuits at greenfield sites, improved drill and blast approaches, pre-concentration, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve decision making.

The report emphasises the mining industry’s crucial role in supporting the transition to net zero emissions, needed to limit global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement, CEEC says. This includes more efficient and sustainable technologies if the industry is to meet the challenge of decarbonisation.

“Despite the scale of the challenge, the report underlines that small improvements in existing mines can lead to large savings in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” CEEC said.

Report author, Marc Allen, states a 5% incremental improvement in energy efficiency across comminution could result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 30 Mt of CO2e.

Allen said: “A relatively modest 5% improvement in comminution across the industry may result in emissions reductions close to the total emissions for New Zealand (35 Mt CO2e).

“A more robust energy audit process and implementation of low-cost opportunities across a mine and process plant may result in total energy savings of up to 10-15% and overall emissions reductions of over 200 Mt of CO2e per annum, depending on the source of electricity.

“Large-scale introduction of renewable energy provides the potential to reduce emissions significantly in the industry – hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas savings when there is widespread adoption of renewable energy and energy storage.”

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, commended Weir for commissioning this timely work, and all industry leaders taking proactive steps to reduce mining’s footprint. She said outstanding CEEC Medal winning work and 700 published advances have already shared good options for miners to consider, thanks to CEEC sponsors, volunteers and authors.

She urged industry to collaborate to accelerate decarbonisation steps.

“More open knowledge sharing helps speed installations of renewables and energy-efficient approaches across all of industry,” Keogh said. “Benefits also include increased productivity, shareholder value, and financing as companies demonstrate performance towards net zero emissions sooner.”

She cited three key collaboration actions vital to success: (1) sharing best practices, to ensure existing mines and processing plants are better informed and take actions earlier to become more energy and water efficient; (2) sharing new technologies, designs and innovations; and (3) supporting test work and pilots of novel technology on sites and at increasing scales.

Keogh called for greater industry dialogue, noting: “This report highlights both a challenge and an opportunity to revitalise cross-industry discussion and actions on decarbonisation and ESG solutions. Weir is one of many visionary CEEC sponsors supporting public good initiatives like CEEC; we invite industry leaders to actively contribute and collaborate through mining-vendor-research partnerships and share knowledge, site case studies and net zero plans via independent organisations such as CEEC.

“Together, we can accelerate improved energy, emissions and water footprint across industry faster.”

Weir Group Chief Executive, Jon Stanton, commented: “Mining needs to become more sustainable and efficient if it is to provide essential resources the world needs for decarbonisation while reducing its own environmental impact. This report is an important contribution to that debate which we hope will spark thoughtful conversations around the world on the way forward.”

Barrick Gold advances emissions reductions targets after a year of ESG positives in 2020

Barrick Gold has decided to up the ESG ante with a new emissions reduction target to 2030 that makes its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 that much more achievable.

The company said its ESG strategy delivered tangible results in 2020, included zero Class 1 environmental incidents, a new record of 79% water recycling and re-use by its operations, and the introduction of fully functional community development committees at all its operating sites to guide its social investment programs.

Speaking in a virtual presentation on sustainability this week, Barrick President and CEO, Mark Bristow, said: “At the beginning of last year, we set an emissions reduction target of 10% by 2030 against a 2018 baseline that combined the data from the legacy Barrick and Randgold operations as well as newly acquired assets. Through the year, we worked on identifying further reduction opportunities and this has enabled us to set an updated target of at least 30% by 2030 with an interim reduction target of 15% based on projects already being implemented, while maintaining a steady production profile.”

He added: “Ultimately our aim is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, achieved primarily through greenhouse gas reductions and offsets for some hard-to-abate emissions,” he said.

Sustainability has long been a strategic business priority for the company, according to Bristow.

“Our strategy is based on four pillars: the creation of economic benefits for all stakeholders; the protection of health and safety at our mines and in their host communities; a respect for human rights; and the minimisation of our environmental impacts. For us, ESG is not a corporate compliance function: it’s integral to how we manage our businesses worldwide.”

In the same presentation, Barrick’s Group Sustainability Executive, Grant Beringer, said all the company’s sites had been certified to the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management standard. Each site had also been empowered to manage its own environmental issues under the oversight of the group’s strategic leadership. There was a particularly rigorous approach to management of tailings facilities, the company added.

Beringer said: “Our tailings and heap leach management standard has been aligned with the recently updated guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals, of which Barrick is a member, as well as those of the Mining Association of Canada. The standard sets out six levels of inspection and surety for the safe operation of tailings and heap leach facilities.”

Shell to supply BHP’s LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers

BHP says it has awarded its first LNG supply agreement for five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers, which will transport iron ore between Western Australia and China from 2022.

Shell has been awarded the contract to fuel the vessels, which BHP will charter from Eastern Pacific Shipping for a five-year term as part of a previously announced arrangement confirmed in September.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “The LNG bunkering contract marks a significant step in how BHP is working with our suppliers to reduce emissions across the maritime supply chain.

“LNG fuelled vessels are forecast to help BHP reduce CO2-e emissions by 30% on a per voyage basis compared to a conventional fuelled voyage between Western Australia and China, and contribute to our 2030 goal to support 40% emissions intensity reduction of BHP-chartered shipping of our products.”

Steve Hill, Executive Vice President, Shell Energy, said: “I would like to congratulate BHP on reducing emissions in their maritime supply chain with the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers. Decarbonisation of the shipping industry must begin today and LNG is the cleanest fuel currently available in meaningful volumes.

“This LNG bunkering contract strengthens the bunkering market in the region and we look forward to working with BHP and other customers in the maritime sector on their journey to a net-zero emissions future.”

The contract is the result of a tender process that included potential suppliers across several geographies. Technical capability, available infrastructure and cost competitiveness were among the stringent criteria.

LNG bunkering – the process of fuelling ships with LNG – will take place through the first LNG bunker vessel in Singapore, ‘FueLNG Bellina’. The vessel is operated by FueLNG, a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum and Keppel Offshore & Marine. The bunker vessel will be able to bunker fuel at a rate of 100-1,000 cu.m/h.

“The LNG bunkering contract will enable BHP to manage fuel supply risk, build LNG operational capability internally, and also help to strengthen the emerging LNG bunkering market in the region,” Pant said. “This contract is expected to form up to 10% of forecasted Asian LNG bunker demand in FY2023 (financial year 2023).”

Newmont aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2030

Newmont has announced what, it says, are “industry-leading climate targets” to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30%, with an ultimate goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The new 2030 target builds upon Newmont’s existing GHG emissions reductions target of 16.5% over five years, concluding in 2020.

“At Newmont, we hold ourselves to high standards – from the way in which we govern our business, to how we manage relationships with our stakeholders, to our environmental stewardship and safety practices,” Tom Palmer, President and CEO of Newmont, said. “We fundamentally understand the human contribution to climate change and understand we reap what we sow. It is our responsibility to take care of the resources provided to us.

“We take these climate change commitments seriously, and make them because our relationship with the planet is absolute. We want a world that is not just sustainable, but thriving for generations to come.”

Using science-based criteria, Newmont has set climate targets for 2021-2030 for its operating sites, including a renewable energy target. The science-based criteria align with Science-Based Targets Initiative criteria and assists Newmont in developing specific emissions reduction pathways and meeting the Paris Agreement objective of being well below 2°C global temperature change, the miner says.

To achieve these aims, the company will implement a new energy and climate investment standard, to be combined with its existing investment standards including shadow carbon pricing, in order to further inform its capital investment process, it said.

“This new investment standard will ensure that the 2030 reduction targets are embedded into investment decisions for projects such as fleet vehicles, production equipment, on-site renewable power generation and energy efficiency,” the company said. “Additionally, the company will engage its partners and joint ventures in an effort to align joint venture operations targets and supply chain related emissions with Newmont’s targets.”

Mining is an energy intensive business, with 88% of Newmont’s energy used for mining and milling generated from carbon-based fuels, it said. As the company looks to reduce emissions and move to a low carbon economy, it will use a strategic approach to portfolio development, energy sourcing, fleet and equipment investment, as well as land use planning to achieve its targets.

A key part of Newmont’s accountability in reaching these targets will be reporting via The Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) guidelines. In 2021, the company will issue its first annual TCFD report. The TCFD report will detail Newmont’s governance, strategy and portfolio resilience to a range of climate scenarios. The TCFD report will also track Newmont’s annual progress toward implementing its 2030 strategy, meeting its 2030 targets and executing emissions reduction projects across its global portfolio.

FROSKR to help miners find the right profit and social responsibility balance

BESTECH Engineering has spun off another one of its divisions, with FROSKR, focused on helping companies understand and mitigate environmental impacts before they occur, the latest name to join the Canada-based mining equipment technology and services space.

FROSKR, an INOVINTA Company, comes from the ancient Norse word for frog. The company explains: “FROSKR is a new take on what it means to be confident and compliant when dealing with complex environmental issues. A sensitive indicator species, frogs breathe partially, and drink fully, through their skin. When the environment suffers, so do frogs. A healthy frog population means sustained environmental health and stability. A project with FROSKR means just the same.”

Kati McCartney, President of FROSKR, says the company’s innovative technology and consulting services help clients cut through the complexity of compliance, protect employees and the environment, build confidence in communities, and optimise productivity and profit.

“That means you don’t have to choose between productivity, profit or social responsibility,” she said. “You just have to choose FROSKR.”

The company comes out of BESTECH, which has been providing real-time data with its AQM™ technology since 2003. AQM is an ambient air monitoring system that offers a variety of options for acquiring and distributing data to various environmental and operational stakeholders. The system delivers data rapidly from various field locations providing instant feedback to current and ongoing production systems required to control emissions stemming from operations, according to the company.

In addition to having the support of BESTECH, another INOVINTA Company, the company can also leverage research and development from SHYFTinc, an automation and software-focused entity, and FORTAI, focused on inventory management.

Fortescue aims for net zero operational emissions by 2040

Fortescue Metals Group has become the latest company to announce plans to achieve net zero operational emissions.

The goal, which the company aims to achieve by 2040, is core to Fortescue’s climate change strategy and is underpinned by a pathway to decarbonisation, it said. This includes the reduction of Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations by 26% from 2020 levels, by 2030, it said.

Other miners such as Vale, BHP and Rio Tinto have all made similar pledges in the last year.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue has a proud history of setting stretch targets and our 2030 emissions reduction commitment, together with our goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040, positions Fortescue as a leader in addressing the global climate change challenge.

“Fortescue supports the Paris Agreement long-term goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and our emissions reduction targets align with this international objective. Our success will be founded on practical initiatives that will allow us to deliver on our targets in an economically sustainable manner.”

Gaines said since October 2019, Fortescue and its partners have announced investments in excess of $800 million in significant energy infrastructure projects to increase its renewable energy supply. These will be a key contributor to its pathway to achieving the emissions reduction targets, she added.

This includes the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project, announced with Alinta Energy in October 2019. Currently under construction, the project will include a 60 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility at the Chichester Hub, comprising Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations. In addition, a circa-60 km transmission line will be built, with completion due mid-2021. This will link the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station and 35 MW battery facility.

Another major investment is the $700 million Pilbara Energy Connect (PEC) program. This includes the $250 million Pilbara Transmission project, consisting of 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting Fortescue’s mine sites, and the $450 million Pilbara Generation project, comprising 150 MW of gas-fired generation, together with 150 MW of solar PV generation and large-scale battery storage. “The PEC project leverages existing assets and provides Fortescue with a hybrid solar gas energy solution that enables the delivery of stable, low cost power and supports the incorporation of additional large-scale renewable energy in the future,” the company says.

These two initiatives, together, will deliver 25-30% of Fortescue’s stationary energy requirements from solar power, according to Gaines.

Gaines added: “Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world and Fortescue is harnessing this technology and capability to achieve carbon neutrality with a sense of urgency. In addition to the development of gas technology and renewables for our stationary energy requirements, we are working towards decarbonising our mobile fleet through the next phase of hydrogen and battery-electric energy solutions.”

In terms of hydrogen, Fortescue, in 2018, signed a partnership agreement with the CSIRO to develop its metal membrane technology, which provides the potential for the bulk transportation of hydrogen through ammonia.

Emissions data and performance against targets will be reported annually as part of Fortescue’s annual reporting suite, the company said. Baseline and annual emissions data will be calculated on a financial year basis.

While not included in the existing operations calculation, Iron Bridge – due to commence operation by mid-2022 – is likely to come with emissions reduction targets that align with Fortescue’s goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040, the company said.

New innovations help Freeport Americas cut GHG emissions

Successful innovations in mining, processing and reporting saw Freeport-McMoRan’s Americas division significantly outperform greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in 2019, the company has reported in its annual sustainability publication.

On an absolute basis, the division’s total GHG emissions for this part of the business remained stable at 4.8 Mt, which was 30% lower than the company’s “Business As Usual” projections, while, on an intensity basis, Americas’ performance improved significantly with carbon intensity per metric tonne of copper produced decreasing by 18% versus 2012 levels and coming in 30% lower than Business as Usual.

The company said, in 2019, the Americas division undertook a significant effort to analyse its GHG emissions in the Americas back to 2012.

This work enabled it to identify “levers” for change in the future and reaffirmed its approach to asset optimisation and processing innovation.

Over the last decade, the division, which includes assets such as Morenci and Cerro Verde, has developed and implemented industry leading technologies for leaching of oxide ores, implemented step change crushing technologies that reduce energy demand by over 30% per tonne of milled material and developed a new, highly efficient process for leaching sulphide concentrates that replaces traditional smelting and refining, it said.

“We also have implemented an asset management strategy where we rebuild engines, frames and truck beds, resulting in the reuse of approximately 70% of a typical haul truck,” it added.

The latter’s net result is over $1 billion in capital avoidance, and an estimated GHG emissions avoidance of 325 t of CO2 equivalent per truck, or more than 150,000 t in the last decade, the company said. This is based on the rebuild of 465 haul trucks that the company has carried out with Caterpillar dealer Empire Cat.

“In addition, the gradual decarbonisation of country-level energy grids, combined with specific power purchase contract terms for renewables, allows us to maintain our focus on lowering operating costs while reducing the amount of GHGs emitted per metric tonne of product,” Freeport said.

Between 2012-2016, ore grades at the company’s Americas operations decreased, requiring more ore to be both moved and processed to produce the same amount of copper. This resulted in emissions climbing during the period.

However, the company took the following actions which countered its increasing emissions trend.

In 2014-2016, it installed new highly efficient milling technology (high pressure grinding roll technology) at Morenci and at Cerro Verde, which enabled significant improvements in absolute emissions intensity as well as significant production gains at both sites, it said.

From 2014 through to 2019, the company also saw a significant decrease in the carbon intensity of its electricity consumption due to Peru and Arizona grid decarbonisation trends.

In 2018, meanwhile, advances in information allowed the company to switch to a “market-based approach” for a significant portion of its delivered electricity, enabling Freeport to reflect actual emissions versus estimates calculated using the standard published grid factors provided by regulators.

Looking forward, the company said it expected to achieve similar success as it did in the last decade at its Americas operations.

“We have set a corporate target to achieve an additional 15% reduction in carbon emissions per metric tonne of copper produced in the Americas by 2030, using a 2018 baseline,” it said.

“Over the next several years, the company will be focused on recovery from COVID-19 impacts by maintaining safe and financially viable operations as well as supporting the economic recovery of the communities where we operate.

“As business conditions allow, we will look for opportunities to invest in innovative mining and processing technologies as a means of working towards our 2030 emissions reduction goal, as well as to further develop our climate change strategy.”

In total, Freeport saw its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (combined) drop from 10.1 Mt of GHG emissions in 2015 to just over 8 Mt in 2019, the report showed.