Jul 17, 2020

Managing the practical risks of COVID-19 in mining

Ali Boroumand, Head of Mining ...
3 min
How have global mining companies mitigated the impact of COVID-19 and what are the longer term prospects for the sector...

The global COVID-19 pandemic has required mining companies to act quickly in shoring up their business operations, taking steps to ensure their staff can continue to work in a safe environment, whilst also supporting the local communities in which they operate. 

Social distancing guidelines are already forcing mining organisations to impose strict limits on access to mine sites and manufacturing facilities, with day-to-day head counts reduced accordingly. 

Companies are modifying shift handover processes by staggering entry/exit timings and implementing virtual handovers to reduce contact. Whilst non-essential maintenance work will likely be postponed, mine operators will need to ensure that plant and equipment continues to be serviced, lest an additional risk of dangerous machinery arise in conjunction with the virus spread. 

Social distancing of course reaches beyond the working area. 

Onsite camps and facilities which service the mines in remote locations will need to adhere to the same processes. Organisations will need contingency plans in place should a COVID-19 case be detected at a site to mitigate against a widespread outbreak. 

Investment in testing facilities, PPE and access to medical professionals are a necessity, especially given the lack of availability of such resources in isolated mining areas or in jurisdictions where the public health sector is in distress. 

Some mining companies operating in remote regions of West Africa are going a step further. Endeavour Mining has for instance invested in ventilators and other medical apparatus to ensure that a level of medical care is available to their employees in regions in which they would otherwise not have access. 

Mine operators have also been providing access to these facilities to local communities, who are usually directly or indirectly linked to the operation of the mine. Companies who make such provisions can take comfort from a CSR perspective whilst also fostering productive, long-term relations with local communities. 

The pandemic presents an opportunity for mining organisations to rethink how they do business in particular in case of a second wave of COVID-19. Mine operators have long-since accepted that artisanal miners, independent miners who are not employed by the mine operator, will invariably set up in close proximity to a mine, sometimes even trying to gain access to the site itself. 

We are seeing examples of mining companies investing in initiatives to assist, legitimise and regulate artisanal mining. 

Allowing access to the same testing, PPE and medical facilities to artisanal miners could prove mutually beneficial to both parties. Mining companies have previously felt the reputational damage caused by a safety incident involving artisanal miners – managing the risk of a Covid outbreak amongst artisanal miners is therefore an important step for companies to take.

Whilst mining companies should be applauded for taking a "good citizen" approach, they must remain mindful of the extending reach of international bribery legislation. 

Corporate Governance departments will need to record what funds or facilities have been made available to local communities or artisanal miners, with an explanation that no commercial advantage is to be gained from such a move. 

This is of heightened importance if any CSR initiative or other offers of medical or financial assistance is made with the involvement of a central or local government official. Mining companies should have in place a detailed and considered bribery risk assessment, on which local level training is provided, to mitigate the risk of such suggestion of improper payments being made. Record keeping in this regard has arguably never been more important.

Companies should consider what additional steps they can take to help their employees (and their families) and other key stakeholders through this uncertain time. 

Those who adapt and improve their business operations to minimise the risk to the health and safety (including covid-19 and other pandemic risks) to their employees and contractors are likely to secure a competitive advantage against their competitors for years to come resulting in increased sales and profits

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Dec 3, 2020

Net zero benefits the mining industry and the environment

digital mining
Dan Brightmore
3 min
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace.
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace...

How do we get the world to net-zero faster?

Emitwise’s founders, Mauro Cozzi, Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie, approached a network of more than 100 of the world's largest enterprises and asked their CEOs, CFOs, and sustainability managers the big question: How do we get the world to net-zero faster? The challenge many shared was the lack of timely and accurate emissions data to enable strategic decisions. Companies often relied on annual audits of their carbon footprint for carbon accounting purposes. However, static yearly results were outdated upon publishing.

Emitwise saves companies an average of 260 working days a year by automating their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data. With the added benefits of clean audit trails and auto-populated accounting reports in line with GHG Protocol, all at the click of a button. Their easy to use solution enables businesses to quickly identify the carbon hotspots to target, and the precise real-time data empowers teams to remain agile and respond effectively, making achieving those goals possible.

Unique AI Technology

Emitwise’s unique AI technology empowers businesses to automatically measure, report and reduce their carbon footprint across their operations and supply chain, future-proofing companies for a zero-carbon world. It is the only solution that enables companies to fully automate their carbon accounting across all business units and suppliers, therefore liberating them from the drudgery of collecting and processing emissions data.

By using artificial intelligence to precisely measure emissions in real-time, businesses can identify and tackle carbon hotspots swiftly, enabling them to devise a trackable roadmap to net-zero carbon. At the same time, accurate audit trails and auto-populated annual reports ensure that companies comply with international reporting requirements, and align businesses with global climate targets to mitigate risk across their operations and supply chain. 

The Oren Marketplace

Environmental management, social license to operate, safety, renewable energy to lower emissions and operational efficiency for mining can be supported by a range of digital solutions enabling dynamic operations. To address these issues, Shell and IBM joined forces to create the Oren Marketplace – the first B2B solutions platform for the mining sector. 

With the adoption of many of the digital solutions offered through Oren, mining companies can adapt in real-time to risks or adjust plans ahead of a problem occurring. The goal is a shift towards proactive management as the optimal outcome for all stakeholders – community, shareholders, and employees.

Emitwise was founded with the goal of helping industries across all sectors reduce their carbon footprint. Similarly, Shell aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, in step with society and its customers. And Oren is focused on offering innovative products and services that can help mining companies track and reduce their emissions. 

“Oren is the starting point for how we help our mining customers to de-carbonise,” explains Carol Chen, Global Lubricants Marketing, Vice President, Shell. “It’s our ambition to work with sectors like mining to help them find their own pathway to net-zero emissions through collaboration. The Oren marketplace offers a great opportunity for collaboration between the miners and technology companies that are joining this digital marketplace.” 

Web Summit

Emitwise will be showcasing its vision for a net-zero future live from Lisbon at this year’s Web Summit. Bringing together the people and companies redefining the global tech industry, the online event welcomes 100,000+ attendees from around the world to hear from more than 800 speakers and view offerings from 2,500 startups covering a vast range of topics from Data Science and Climate Change to AI and Machine Learning. To find out more and book your ticket visit Web Summit. 

Emitwise is one of many solutions providers on the Oren platform seeking to address the pain points and environmental concerns of heavy industries like mining. To discover a range of solutions that can further support your operation’s digital transformation and commitment to sustainability, visit the Oren Marketplace.

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