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.”