Tag Archives: Michiel Hovers

Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam production practices recognised with Copper Mark

BHP’s Chilean operations Escondida and Spence, and Olympic Dam in Australia, have been awarded the Copper Mark, recognising responsible production practices after an independent assurance process, the miner says.

The Copper Mark is an assurance framework specific to the copper industry, developed to ensure value chain participants demonstrate best practice in responsible production and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Copper Mark is a voluntary program that independently assesses participants in 32 critical areas including environment, community, human rights and governance issues for mining, smelting and refining operations.

The Copper Mark uses the Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and the Joint Due Diligence Standard for Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc, as the basis for evaluating participants’ performance.

BHP submitted Letters of Commitment for Escondida (pictured), Spence and Olympic Dam to the Copper Mark Responsible Production Framework on October 31, 2020. The Copper Mark was awarded to Olympic Dam on September 21, 2021, while Spence and Escondida were each awarded theirs on November 2, 2021.

BHP’s Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers, said: “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.”

BHP’s Mineral Americas President, Rag Udd, added: “Copper Mark is a step forward in developing an industry-wide approach to transparency and standards for the copper value chain and reinforces the value BHP places on responsible, sustainable production.

“Copper is a future-facing commodity and our operations have an important role to play in providing high quality and sustainable copper that is essential to the energy transition. Escondida, the largest copper producer in the world, operates 100% with desalinated water and, along with Spence, is aiming to achieve 100% renewable power by the mid-2020s.

“It is important to our customers, investors, employees, communities and governments to ascertain the ethical and sustainable production of copper along the value chain.”

BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie, said the team was thrilled that Olympic Dam has become the first site in Australia to be awarded the Copper Mark.

“Olympic Dam is a multi-generational orebody and one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver and uranium,” she said. “The Copper Mark accreditation provides an industry-wide approach to transparency and sustainability in the copper value chain and provides our customers with confidence in the copper they purchase. Award of the Copper Mark will help us to keep sustainably delivering jobs, investment and economic and social value.”.

The Copper Mark’s Executive Director, Michèle Brülhart, said: “We are delighted to welcome Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam among the recipients of the Copper Mark. We are particularly pleased to see the first Australian site to receive the Copper Mark with Olympic Dam while we continue to grow our footprint in the world’s main copper producing country, Chile. We congratulate the three sites for their achievement and their commitment to responsible production practices.”

BHP commits Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam ops to reaching Copper Mark

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.