Tag Archives: ICMM

Planning for Closure

Mining with an eye on closure

Mine closure is a process now considered from the outset of a mining project, with operators only receiving their so-called ‘social licence to operate’ when a well-considered and understandable end of life plan is outlined.

Ahead of Planning for Closure 2024, taking place in Santiago, Chile, from May 8-10, IM heard from Bjorn Weeks, Chair of the event and Teck Resources’ Senior Advisor for Mine Closure, on the big issues being considered by industry.

Q: What can you tell us about Teck’s plans and approach regarding planned mine closures and the challenges and opportunities these imply for the company?

A: Teck is committed to sustainable and responsible mining, and mine closure is an essential part of this. Effective mine closure has allowed us to demonstrate in a concrete way that we follow through on our sustainability commitments. We also recognise that the best outcomes for closure are rooted in early planning. Good planning requires having the right people focused on developing, revising and implementing closure plans.

As a proudly Canada-based, global producer of the critical metals and minerals needed for the transition to a net-zero future, we have a long history of responsible resource development and we have an advantage in that we can draw on our experiences from the mines that we have responsibly closed successfully in the past.

The practice of mine closure is evolving throughout the industry, and Teck’s practice is evolving with it. We are constantly looking at best industry practices, such as those outlined by the ICMM, and making sure we incorporate them in our standards, procedures and guidelines in a meaningful way.

Q: Regarding the process of mine closure, what could you tell us about your approach to the rehabilitation of the land, the associated costs and work with the communities?

A: The importance of effective rehabilitation of the land has increased over the years, and what would be seen as the standard for satisfactory rehabilitation has evolved. In the not-so-distant past, achieving a reasonable degree of chemical and physical stability would be considered exemplary rehabilitation. However, in modern practice, the goals now go further – can we mine in a way that minimises the disruption to nature and biodiversity? Can we conduct closure in a way that speeds the restoration of ecosystems, potentially incorporating progressive closure? And, if we do those things, how does that fit with the desires and needs of the surrounding communities? Both as those communities are today, and as they will exist in the future – during and after closure. These are challenging questions that require the investment of time and resources to address. But I don’t think there is an alternative if the industry it to gain and maintain the trust of the society that we ultimately serve.

Q: How do you assess the progress that the mining industry is making in terms of planning for the closure of mining operations in recent years?

A: The industry continues to make remarkable progress in terms of planning for closure, with the state of practice in mine closure evolving dramatically across the globe. There are now many sites that have undergone what I would call a “modern” closure, which fully incorporate chemical and physical stability as well as – in some cases – addressing biodiversity and a well-managed social transition, with excellent results and many lessons learned about which technologies work, and which do not.

Bjorn Weeks, Senior Advisor, Mine Closure, Teck Resources, and Planning For Closure 2024 Chair

As we get better at addressing the fundamental challenges associated with promoting the long-term chemical and physical stability of our closed sites, industry attention is now turning to better addressing other challenges. The social component of closure is increasingly a focus – how do we incorporate community desires in our closure plans? How do we ease the economic transition for communities that have depended on the benefits of mining during operations? At Teck, we engage early with communities and Indigenous Peoples to ensure they are involved in closure and end land use planning.

In recent years we have also seen planning for closure take on the challenges of impacts to biodiversity and nature. How can we close mines in a way that supports nature, and even has the potential to enhance biodiversity? Remarkable research has been done and significant advances have been made in this area, and I think that it is through successful closures that incorporate these concepts that the industry will be able to demonstrate to the world that sustainable mining is not only possible but practical.

At the same time, we know that nature loss is a critical global challenge that requires a coordinated global effort to tackle, and Teck is taking action now. We are working to support a nature positive future by 2030. This includes investing significantly in innovation to reduce our impacts and conserving and reclaiming at least three hectares for every one hectare we affect through mining. We are accelerating the pace of reclamation for our own sites and working with local communities and Indigenous Peoples to protect nature in accordance with their priorities. We’ve conserved or restored a total of 51,900 hectares since we launched our Nature Positive goal in 2022.

4. How does Planning for Closure 2024 help mining companies (as well as other stakeholders) to continue to make progress in improving the different areas involved in mine closure?

A: The tremendous rate of advance in mine closure practice has been made possible by the willingness of practitioners to share information. Absolutely nothing can replace the power of a conference to bring together people who have different levels of experience and different backgrounds to learn from each other. I have had the privilege to attend Planning for Closure since its inaugural edition in 2016, and I think it provides an important forum for both the formal and informal sharing of knowledge. At this conference we see seasoned industry veterans mixing with people who are just beginning their careers, and we see mining industry executives freely interchanging experiences with consultants and stakeholders.

Planning for Closure 2024 occupies a unique space – Latin America in general, and Chile in particular, is home to some of the largest and most important mines in the world including Teck’s newly expanded Quebrada Blanca operation, and the challenges in planning for and executing those closures are huge. In that context, it is incredibly important to have a conference like this one that is international in reach, and can draw on the full range of global experience, while still providing enough of a local focus to speak to the real challenges facing practitioners here.

For mining companies like Teck, this conference is an opportunity to both to contribute to advancing the dialogue about mine closure, and to the development of the professionals we need as an industry.

The Planning for Closure 2024 event is a forum where executives, professionals and academics can learn and analyse strategies and tools that allow the integration of mining planning from the initial stage of a project and throughout the life of a mine. Find out more about the event here


ICMM mining members make commitments to support a nature positive future

Leading global mining and metals companies have today committed to take urgent action to support a nature positive future by 2030 that promotes the health, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems and natural processes. With responsibly produced minerals and metals playing a critical role in advancing global sustainable development goals, ICMM members, representing a third of the global industry, have pledged that meeting this demand for critical materials must not be at the expense of nature.

Shaped by experts and leaders from a range of disciplines from across ICMM company and association members, as well as from civil society, academia, Indigenous representatives, and investor and disclosure bodies, ICMM’s new commitments set out a five-point plan for nature:

  • Protect and conserve pristine areas of our natural environment: no mining or exploration in World Heritage Sites and respect all legally designated protected areas;
  • Halt biodiversity loss at our operations: achieve at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline;
  • Collaborate across value chains: develop initiatives and partnerships that halt and reverse nature loss throughout supply and distribution chains;
  • Restore and enhance landscapes: around operations through local partnerships, including with Indigenous Peoples, land-connected peoples and local communities; and
  • Catalyse wider change: acting to change the fundamental systems that contribute to nature loss and fostering opportunities for nature’s recovery.

These commitments apply to activities across all four realms of nature – land, freshwater, oceans and atmosphere – leveraging companies’ areas of influence – from their direct operations, value chains and wider landscapes, through to creating the conditions required to achieve systems transformation. They are supported by transparent disclosures on performance outcomes, including publishing the results of nature-related impact and dependency assessments, and setting targets to address these, ICMM says.

Rohitesh Dhawan, President and CEO, ICMM, announced the nature commitments at a Nature Positive Initiative event in Davos today, commenting: “The mining industry owes its very existence to nature. At a time when the health of our natural world is in peril yet the demand for critical minerals is set to soar, we have committed to significant collective action to help create a nature positive future. These commitments build on the significant individual goals and actions of ICMM members over several decades, including habitat conservation, species protection, and landscape restoration.

“There is no escaping that the act of mining directly affects nature, which is why the cornerstone of our commitments is to ensure at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline. In addition, we have committed to take steps in our value chains, landscapes, and the wider systems in which we operate so that the total impact of our actions contribute to a nature positive future. These will be taken with the critical participation of Indigenous and land-connected peoples, and local communities, whose rights, values, and knowledge will be central to our actions.”

ICMM members have already implemented a number of initiatives focused on conservation and restoration, for example, strengthening protection for areas of high biodiversity value, developing innovative technologies for improved seed performance during landscape revegetation, and defending important habitats from invasive species. ICMM’s new commitments will enhance these to drive performance across the industry, it says.

Jonathan Price, President and CEO, Teck Resources Limited, and Chair of ICMM’s Council Nature Advisory Group, said: “Collaboration across all sectors is essential to help stop and reverse nature loss and ICMM’s nature commitments will help companies to scale up their existing efforts and drive local and regional partnerships to better protect and restore our landscapes and ecosystems for the benefit of all.

“At Teck, we’re taking action to conserve and restore nature while we also provide the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonize. For us, that means implementing initiatives including conserving and reclaiming at least three hectares for every one hectare we affect through mining.”

Marco Lambertini, Convenor of the Nature Positive Initiative, said: “Today’s commitment from the mining sector to contribute to a nature-positive future is welcome. Sector-wide coordination is key to halting and reversing today’s accelerating loss of biodiversity. To help secure a nature-positive world, it will now be critical that ICMM’s members translate this commitment into truly nature-positive outcomes. This means both safeguarding areas with high biodiversity value and contributing in their operations to measurable gains in the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems and natural processes.”

The commitments on direct operations, value chain and governance and transparency apply to all members, and individual members will select at least one of three commitment options relating to wider landscapes and systems transformation, in order to maximise their positive contribution.

These commitments were published as part of a Position Statement setting out ICMM members’ approach to contributing to a nature positive future guided by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and ICMM’s existing commitments in relation to protected areas, Indigenous Peoples, water and respecting human rights as per the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Action on nature is an integral part of ICMM’s Mining Principles, representing our member companies’ comprehensive commitment to a responsible mining and metals industry.

ICMM offers up Scope 3 emission goal setting advice

ICMM has published guidance to support mining and metals companies to set impactful short-, medium- and long-term targets for reducing their Scope 3 emissions.

The Scope 3 Emissions Target Setting Guidance underscores the importance of transparency and engagement with suppliers, customers, investors and regulators in setting targets, to help accelerate emissions reduction throughout the value chain, it said.

Scope 3 emissions are a critical area of focus for the mining and metals industry, representing up to 95% of a company’s total emissions, compared with 75% across other sectors, according to reports.

This guidance defines target-setting principles tailored to the specific considerations of the mining and metals sector, and is drawn from current EU, US, UK, Canadian and Australian regulatory frameworks, as well as guidance from the United Nations’ High Level Expert Group on Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities. Acknowledging the inherent differences in commodities and value chains, rather than endorsing a specific methodology, it provides mining and metals-specific context around commonly used approaches.

The guidance establishes a robust framework for companies to enhance their targets as their capabilities mature over time, ICMM says. It sets out leading practice across four maturity stages, with each stage outlining minimum expectations across five key dimensions: accounting and reporting, identification of emissions ‘hotspots’, business integration and alignment, assessment of decarbonisation pathways and organisational governance.

Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO, ICMM, said: “As the discussions at COP28 have made clear, each sector bears the responsibility to understand its part in the broader system and extend beyond immediate boundaries to unearth solutions to stubborn sources of emissions. As the base products in almost every industry – from renewable energy and sustainable transport, to construction and tech – metals and minerals are critical to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“ICMM’s Scope 3 Emissions Target Setting Guidance underscores ICMM members’ dedication to thoroughly understanding their value chain emissions and their capacity to influence change. Collaborating with customers, suppliers, investors and regulators, ICMM members aim to curtail emissions in line with global climate goals. We urge all mining and metals companies to embrace this guidance and set their own targets for reducing Scope 3 emissions.”

Iván Arriagada, CEO, Antofagasta plc, Chair of ICMM and member of ICMM’s Council Climate Change Advisory Group, added: “At Antofagasta, our commitment to addressing climate change permeates every aspect of our strategy and decision making. The introduction of ICMM’s Scope 3 Emissions Target Setting Guidance is an important step in enhancing transparency and catalysing collaborative efforts across the industry to curb these emissions.

“Tackling Scope 3 emissions requires a distinct approach from operational emissions directly or indirectly generated at sites. Setting targets within mining and metal value chains is a complex process, demanding a shift from direct emissions management to collaborative and integrated engagement. This involves building strong relationships with suppliers and customers, even within intricate supply chains.”

In 2021, ICMM members committed to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. They also committed to report on Scope 3 emissions and set reduction targets by end-2023 or as soon as possible. Significant progress has been made towards these commitments, and members remain focused on meeting their short and medium-term milestones, ICMM says.

In September 2023, ICMM published Scope 3 Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidance, establishing a standardised framework for mining and metals companies to calculate and disclose their value chain emissions. This new Target Setting Guidance builds on these accounting and reporting principles.

ICMM looks to advance water stewardship across mining sector with new framework

ICMM has published a Water Stewardship Maturity Framework designed to help mining and metals companies enhance their stewardship of shared water resources in ways that are socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, it says.

Featuring a range of leading practices and real-world examples from different operating contexts, the framework addresses risks and priorities applicable at individual asset and corporate levels. It identifies five elements of water stewardship: governance and strategy; understanding water context, risks and opportunities; integration in business planning and decision making; performance and measurement; and transparency and reporting. It also outlines three progressive stages within these elements – basic, advanced and leading.

The framework is intended to support users to effectively manage water as a shared resource, acknowledging its critical importance, not only to the business, but also to the broader local catchment and its stakeholders, ICMM said. It supports the integration of water’s pivotal role into various corporate agendas, such as climate resilience, cultural heritage protection, nature-positive approaches, social performance and inclusion, and operational excellence.

The framework aligns with leading external guidance and reporting initiatives, including the Global Reporting Initiative, Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure and the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure.

Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO and President, ICMM, said: “Access to water is a basic human right and a fundamental requirement for healthy, functioning ecosystems. We live in a world of increasing pressure on water resources, compounded by the impact of climate change. We hope that ICMM’s Water Stewardship Maturity Framework will be a valuable tool to advance water stewardship across our industry and to navigate the challenges in delivering critical minerals for a more sustainable future.”

Martin Preece, Interim CEO, Gold Fields, said: “ICMM’s Water Stewardship Maturity Framework will help companies like ours to advance sustainable water management. Water Stewardship is one of our six key ESG priorities, as water is a critical resource we share with our host communities and host countries. The self-assessment and verification process carried out by all our mines, gives us the confidence that we are managing water responsibly and helps us build trust with our stakeholders, particularly host communities.”

The new framework, developed with input from water and environmental experts from ICMM’s membership, draws on members’ experiences, providing clear pathways and examples to support enhanced water stewardship practices across the industry, ICMM said.

Equipping mining with the tools to minimise the biodiversity cost of decarbonisation

As the race to net-zero intensifies, it is increasingly clear that the extractives industry has a crucial role to play supplying the raw minerals needed for decarbonisation. While navigating the balance between accessing new deposits and environmental sustainability is challenging, new methods of biodiversity monitoring offer a potential solution to minimise impacts on nature, Joe Huddart* says.

The race to net-zero is driving the fastest energy transition in history, and with the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggesting we will need to quadruple our mineral inputs by 2040 if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, there has been an emphasis on the need for the extractives industry to ensure they can meet this demand.

However, given that 20% of existing mines tracked by the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index (IMI) are in biodiversity hotspots, accurately assessing and measuring the impact of existing and future mines on biodiversity and the environment is vital. The Earth’s biodiversity remains our greatest asset, not only acting as “our strongest natural defence against climate change” according to the UN, but also fundamental to our global economy. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than 50% of global GDP “is moderately or highly dependent on nature”.

Therefore, it is critical that risks to biodiversity are central to decision making in all sectors to drive a sustainable future in the race to net zero. Of course, this includes mining. A sector which has historically been seen as a driver of environmental degradation; destroying ecosystems within their immediate footprint while damaging communities and ecosystems beyond their area of influence via pollution and contamination.

However, coupling this expected sector growth with the fact that 20% of global mines tracked by the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index (IMI) are located in biodiversity hotspots, accurately assessing and measuring the impact of mining operations on their surrounding environments is essential. The Earth’s biodiversity is our greatest asset, not only acting as “our strongest natural defence against climate change” according to the UN, but also fundamental to our global economy.

The World Economic Forum estimates that more than 50% of global GDP “is moderately or highly dependent on nature”. Therefore, it is critical that nature-based considerations are central to decision making in all sectors to drive a sustainable future in the race to net-zero. This includes mining, which has historically been seen as a driver of environmental degradation, while also posing health risks to communities and ecosystems exposed to the pollution it creates.

As biodiversity loss, externalities, material risks and dependencies on nature go mainstream, the importance of protecting biodiversity is reflected in the alphabet soup of frameworks that have been launched in recent years, including the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Science Based Targets Networks (SBTN) and the recently announced Task-Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD). The latter being a nature equivalent to the earlier Taskforce on Carbon-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) which is now incorporated into legal frameworks in many countries. The common goal of these frameworks and by those who have already adopted them, is to preserve biodiversity and establish the nature-positive practices necessary for a sustainable future. For business, there is a significant first-mover advantage for early adopters, as nature reporting mirrors the journey from voluntary to regulatory and compliance that carbon took. It is not just mining companies adopting these, but also financial institutions; with lenders, from institutional investors to banks, adopting these frameworks as prerequisites to mining customers accessing finance. This is similar to the earlier development banks biodiversity lender requirements, such as the IFC’s PS6 and EBRD’s PR6.

However, these biodiversity frameworks all acknowledge the complexity of reporting on nature impact. Compared with carbon emissions which are measured and widely traded as tonnes of CO2, the similar commodification of biodiversity is far more challenging. Biodiversity, loosely defined as the variety and number of plant and animal species in a given location, varies considerably across ecosystems. Developing standardised metrics that can be used to accurately measure, track, assess and report on biodiversity across ecosystems, from deserts to rainforests, to even coral reefs and the deep ocean, is therefore much more difficult.

While the frameworks provide businesses with a means to understand what they are required to monitor and how to disclose it within a standardised system, how to acquire the raw data needed to fulfil these requirements remains an elephant in the room. This is a shift away from species-specific monitoring of ‘trigger’ species – those that are particularly rare, threatened or indicators of ‘critical habitat’ – towards comprehensive, all-inclusive biodiversity baselining across taxonomic groups, from fungi to mammals, which comes with a range of issues and an expensive price tag.

“We cannot decarbonise without exploring, developing and exploiting existing and new mineral deposits, but we can minimise the impact this will have on biodiversity and nature”

To monitor species at the biological community resolution using conventional, observation-based methods is often prohibitively time-consuming, expensive and invasive or destructive. For instance, it is almost impossible to survey fishes at scale without using nets, which nearly always results in high mortality, with mortality often needed to identify collected specimens to species-level back in the laboratory. Even then, there is a very real chance many species are missed as nets will miss certain habitats and so datasets remain incomplete.

We also need to ask ourselves: if, during the limited time in which ecological teams are in the field, environmental teams can they reasonably be expected to encounter, detect and identify all the fauna and flora present in biological communities? This is challenging in some of the species-poor regions of the world, but near impossible in the richest, the biological hotspots where many mines will need to be located. Then there are the considerable health and safety risks of having such teams in the field for extended periods of time to contend with, too.

The rise of nature intelligence

Thankfully, the last few years has seen the emergence of innovations in ‘nature intelligence’ technology, such as environmental DNA (eDNA), which are equipping companies with the means to measure nature accurately and cost-efficiently on a scale never before seen.

All life on earth – from bacteria to blue whales – leaves tiny traces of DNA in its environment. eDNA technology allows us to sample the environment for these fragments of DNA to reveal a complete picture of the biodiversity of that ecosystem. eDNA surveys allow organisations to survey for and identify at-risk invasive or protected species, alongside wider biological groups, simultaneously. This establishes comprehensive biological baselines from which changes in biodiversity, good and bad, can be detected. This allows companies to link activities to impacts and so better understand biological risks, monitor progress and guide the implementation of effective management actions.

The emergence of innovations in ‘nature intelligence’ technology, such as environmental DNA, is equipping companies with the means to measure nature accurately and cost-efficiently on a scale never before seen

Combining eDNA surveying with other nature intelligence technologies that capture the complexities of nature, such as Earth observation/GIS, bioacoustics and drones, is proving a game-changer. The granular scale at which biodiversity can be repeatedly monitored and assessed is enabling companies to track, understand, report on and, above all, better manage their operations’ relationship with nature.

Moving the dial towards nature-positive in mining

As it ramps up operations while faced with increasingly sophisticated biodiversity regulations, the mining industry is in a difficult position. The Lassonde Curve, the time from discovery to commercial extraction, still takes some 16 years; closing this gap will be vital to meet decarbonisation goals. However, this should not result in the loosening of environmental standards or ‘red tape’ and so come at the expense of already beleaguered biodiversity and the environment. If anything, quite the opposite. In conjunction with nature reporting, the need to speed up mining developments should catalyse the adoption of increasingly sophisticated environmental management by the mining sector through the deployment of nature intelligence to improve the quality and scale of biodiversity data. This will not only demonstrate improved due diligence and ‘going the extra mile’ to produce better environmental impact assessments but enable regulators to make faster decisions.

Many companies, including Anglo American, Sínese and Rio Tinto have already found success using these technologies for different purposes to support their drive to nature-positivity.

For Anglo American, eDNA has transformed their biodiversity monitoring across the project cycle, and they have deployed the technology in 16 projects across 11 countries since 2020.

Warwick Mostert, Biodiversity Principal at Anglo American, believes eDNA monitoring has “huge applicability…[firstly] in the discovery and exploration phase, where knowledge is limited about the potential biodiversity risk in the area…[also] when a mine is in full operation, it will become a key part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation in terms of biodiversity performance…[and] when we start to get to the point where an operation is coming to closure, it will allow us to make sure the work has been done and we can meet our objective of restoring an environment to better than its pre-mining state”.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has also noted the useful potential of the data that mining companies can generate, saying, “Mining companies can play a huge role in contributing biodiversity and environmental monitoring data in areas where such data has typically been scarce. Technologies like eDNA can also be used to unlock new pathways in democratising the collection of and access to data. More radical participation, transparency, openness and access to data is required to shift us towards a nature positive future. This should be at the core of both developing and implementing any corporate nature positive strategy.”

The mining industry has found itself at the nexus of two existential crises, climate and biodiversity. We cannot decarbonise without exploring, developing and exploiting existing and new mineral deposits, but we can minimise the impact this will have on biodiversity through nature intelligence. This will play a key part at all stages of the mining life cycle, ensuring mines can improve their management of biodiversity and that this can be reported efficiently in the incoming frameworks.

Lastly, we have to remember that mines have a lifetime, and mine closure is a vital yet historically neglected stage in the life of mine cycle. Nature intelligence can assist here to ensure mines are demonstrably rehabilitated and handed back to communities in a decent biological condition that does not constitute an ongoing risk to humans, fauna and flora, but can actually benefit local communities and ecosystems. All biodiversity impacts are environmental impacts and – given our dependency on natural systems and ecological functions – all environmental impacts are ultimately social impacts. Nature intelligence will therefore ensure we embark on a mining trajectory that improves outcomes for both nature and society.

*Joe Huddart is Subject Matter Expert and Freshwater Ecologist at NatureMetrics

IMARC 2023 organisers preparing for ‘grand slam’ event

The world’s mining and resource leaders are heading to Sydney, New South Wales, for the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) from October 31 – November 2 in what has become a “grand slam” event of the industry, globally, event organisers says.

IMARC Chief Operating Officer, Anita Richards, said this year’s event was looking to be the largest ever, with over 520 speakers from global giants such as BHP, Fortescue, MMG, Gold Fields, Wesfarmers, Worley, Perenti, IGO, the US Departments of Energy and Defense and the ICMM, coming together to collaborate on themes including digital transformation and innovation; sustainability, social value, environmental resilience, people and culture; trade, investment and project opportunities; and energy transition.

She said: “The mining and resources industry is evolving rapidly to meet the growing energy demands of today while developing the minerals needed for a decarbonised economy – under unprecedented scrutiny from communities, regulators and investors.

IMARC 2023 comes at a time when explorers and miners are diversifying portfolios to align with future demand, triggering the highest level of M&A activity across both mining and METS we have ever seen.”

This year’s conference will see the return of the IMARC NextGen Program, which will provide an opportunity for 200 NSW school children to learn about the diverse and exciting mining and resources industry.

IMARC 2023 also features:

  • A special ESG focus on creating social value;
  • An extensive look at First Nations engagement, human rights and transparency;
  • A look at best-practice mine rehabilitation;
  • A global perspectives on heritage and environmental custodianship and economic development;
  • A return of the successful Balance for Better Program which promotes equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of the mining and resources sector.

Richards added: “Mining and resources have never been more important for sustainable economic, social and innovative development across the globe. We need more exploration and development to match surging demand for the critical minerals that are central to the global energy transition. IMARC 2023 is where the most important conversations are being held about how mining and resources can help achieve global development sustainably and equitably.

“IMARC is a key forum to address these challenges, and the global profile of the event is reflected in delegations already confirmed from India, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Chile, Mongolia, United States, South Korea, Japan, Germany and many more.”

At IMARC 2023 a range of new features have been added to the program. These include the Low Emission Technology Australia session to help accelerate innovation in the clean technology sector, the 4,000 sq.m IMARC Mining Pavilion with over 150 exhibitors present and the final of the Unearthed Global Innovation Games where the winners will be announced and their technology displayed.

IMARC 2023 will take place at the ICC Sydney from October 31 to November 2 and will be a celebration of what has grown into one of Australia’s biggest business events, with a record 8,500 delegates from over 120 countries, including upwards of 50 government delegations expected to attend, organisers say.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC 2023 and will be in Sydney reporting on the event.

ICMM publishes Scope 3 guidance to help drive value chain emission reduction partnerships

Today, the ICMM has published its Scope 3 Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidance that, it says, provides a standardised framework for mining and metals companies to calculate and disclose their value chain emissions.

The guidance aims to improve transparency and accelerate collaborative action with suppliers and customers on reducing these emissions, the ICMM says. It is based on the most widely used standard for accounting and reporting corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally – the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard from the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development – and tailored to the unique characteristics of the mining and metals industry.

Scope 3 emissions represent 75% of the emissions profile of a company, on average – which can extend to 95% for mining and metals companies depending on their commodity portfolio, the ICMM says. As minerals and metals are the foundation of so many industries, this creates a particularly complex profile of Scope 3 emissions for the mining and metals sector, with significant variance across commodities and geographies. The guidance, the ICMM says, helps companies to understand their unique emissions profiles and identify ‘hotspots’ where they can target efforts in partnership with suppliers and customers to achieve meaningful emission reductions.

It sets clear parameters for calculating emissions across the 15 categories of Scope 3 emissions in the GHG Protocol, and supports companies in applying the protocol’s principles of Relevance, Completeness, Transparency, Accuracy and Consistency.

Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO of the ICMM, said: “The goals of the Paris Agreement depend on a massive increase in the use of low-carbon technologies and the essential minerals that enable them. But production of these materials is not without its own carbon footprint. Since all action on Scope 3 emissions depends on good quality calculations and reporting, this needs special focus for the mining and metals industry.

“ICMM members – who represent one third of the industry – have embraced their role in supporting customers and suppliers with their own efforts to decarbonise. And, while transparency and action begin with us, the urgent progress required will need collaboration at a scale we’ve never seen before. We hope that ICMM’s Scope 3 Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidance drives partnerships that can significantly reduce value chain emissions in line with global climate goals.”

The guidance was developed with support from experts on Scope 3 from ICMM’s membership, and in consultation with investors and standard owners.

Jakob Stausholm, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto, and Chair of the ICMM Council’s Climate Change Advisory Group, said: “Climate change is the key challenge of our generation. ICMM’s Scope 3 Emissions Accounting and Reporting Guidance will help to improve the understanding of mining and metals companies’ Scope 3 emissions profiles, as well as provide opportunities to accelerate emissions reduction.

“Each company is on their own Scope 3 journey, and so the guidance recognises that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work in the accounting and reporting of Scope 3 emissions, and that there is a need to accommodate different levels of calculation and reporting maturity across the industry. This guidance can be used by any mining operation, regardless of commodity or geography, and so we call on all companies to adopt its use in their own accounting and reporting of Scope 3 emissions to help improve alignment in disclosures across the industry.”

In 2021, ICMM members committed to reach net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, as well as report on Scope 3 emissions by the end of 2023 and set reduction targets, if not by then, as soon as possible. Important progress has been made towards all aspects of these commitments, and members remain on track to meet their short and medium-term milestones, according to the ICMM.

Vale hits ICMM’s GISTM target for tailings storage facilities

Vale says it has implemented the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management (GISTM) in 48 of its 50 tailings storage facilities (TSFs), with plans to bring the two remaining TSFs into conformance by August 2025.

The GISTM was developed after the tragic failure of a tailings facility at Brumadinho, Brazil, in 2019, through an independent process convened by ICMM, the United Nations Environment Programme and Principles for Responsible Investment.

The standard sets a high bar and contains 77 requirements integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations which strive to achieve the goal of zero harm to people and the environment, according to ICMM.

Vale says of the 48 TSFs now in conformance with the GISTM, 35 are in the Iron Solutions business unit in Brazil and 13 in the Energy Transition Metals business unit (11 in Canada and 2 in Brazil).

“The two remaining Iron Solutions TSFs in Brazil have a lower consequence classification and will be in conformance with the standard by August 2025, following the criteria of the Conformance Protocols defined by ICMM,” Vale said.

The 48 TSFs in conformance meet the GISTM requirements, and some of them have action plans in place according to the Conformance Protocols, according to the company. In addition to meeting the 77 standard requirements, a TSF in conformance with the GISTM means that the oversight, monitoring and transparency of information have been and will continue to be improved, according to Vale. The focus is on the safety of people and the environment throughout the entire TSFs life cycle.

When the GISTM was published in August 2020, ICMM members committed to conform with the standard for tailings facilities classified as ‘extreme’ or ‘very high’ consequences by August 2023, and all other facilities by August 2025. Members are due to publish their progress towards conformance with the GISTM by August 5, 2023, for tailings facilities with the highest potential consequences in the event of a failure.

The ICMM said earlier this week that it anticipated some companies will not achieve full conformance with the standard’s requirements.

Implementing GISTM for Vale’s TSFs represents only one part of the company’s efforts to become safer and more sustainable, the miner says. Vale has been improving the management of its mining dams by conducting an in-depth technical analysis of the historical, current condition and performance of each structure. The preventive, corrective and monitoring actions have also been intensified, being increasingly integrated with social movements and updated according to legislation.

Vale also continues to progress de-characterisating its upstream tailings dam structures in Brazil. As of 2019, out of the 30 dams of this kind included in the program, 12 have already been de-characterised, representing 40% of the total. The program is expected to be completed in 2035. The de-characterisation of upstream facilities in Brazil is Vale’s commitment, in addition to being part of the current Brazilian federal and state legislation on dam safety.

ICMM report highlights fall in mining fatalities in 2022

ICMM has, today, released a report that benchmarks the 2022 safety performance of its members, highlighting that 33 people from ICMM company members lost their lives at work in 2022.

This number compares to 45 in 2021 (after an additional two were retrospectively added to the count) and 44 in 2020.

ICMM says its members are unwavering in their commitment to operate responsibly, as they work to eliminate fatalities towards a goal of zero harm.

To support this commitment, ICMM compiles, analyses and publishes the safety data provided annually by company members, which collectively represent a third of the global mining and metals industry. The full report, ‘Safety Performance: Benchmarking Progress of ICMM Company Members In 2022,’ is available here.

The report analyses fatalities from ICMM company members based on the cause (or ‘hazard’) and provides safety performance metrics by county and company. In 2022, nine of the 33 fatalities were related to mobile equipment and transportation, and five fatalities were caused by falling objects. Company member operations in South Africa had the highest number of fatalities (seven), accounting for 21% of the total fatalities across ICMM members. Thirteen out of 26 members reported zero fatalities.

Rohitesh Dhawan, President and CEO, ICMM said: “Everyone deserves to work free from harm, within a safe and healthy industry environment.

“ICMM has remained steadfast in our belief that we can always find new ways to improve, and as we enter a period of unprecedented demand for minerals and metals, we will continue to focus on identifying new ways to eliminate fatalities from mining and metals operations.”

ICMM began collating and publishing data on members’ safety performance in 2012 with the intention of driving knowledge-sharing, transparency and continual improvement across the industry. This data is compiled using ICMM’s ‘Guidance on Health and Safety Performance Indicators’ which was updated in 2021.

ICMM welcomes AusIMM as 40th association member

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has welcomed the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) as a new association member.

Founded in 1893 and celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, AusIMM is a member-based, professional association leading the way for people working in the resources sector.

Representing 15,000 members in 100 countries, AusIMM showcases leadership, upholds industry standards, creates communities, and shapes careers through world-class professional development including online courses, technical conferences and thought leadership events, AusIMM says.

Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO and President, ICMM, speaking at the World Mining Congress, said: “We are delighted to welcome AusIMM as our newest association member. We’ve a very positive history of working collaboratively with AusIMM to promote leading practice on environment, social and governance issues in our industry. I’m looking forward to building on this partnership even further as we co-develop the tools needed to help industry professionals continue to responsibly produce the critical minerals and metals required across the globe.

“This cements an already strong and collaborative relationship between our organisations. This will enable us to share insights and drive leading practice to make our industry safer and more sustainable.”

Stephen Durkin, CEO, AusIMM, also speaking at the World Mining Congress, said: “Both the ICMM and AusIMM are committed to responsible resource development. The AusIMM’s expertise in sustainable mining practice and professional education courses such as in ESG & Social Responsibility will be enhanced by working more closely with ICMM. For example, our upcoming new Professional Certificate on Integrated Mine Closure will be based on ICMM’s Good Practice Guide.”

AusIMM has become ICMM’s 40th association member, joining 25 company members, which represent one third of the global metals and mining, and 39 associations that represent different commodities, national jurisdictions and professional groups.