'Unprecedented opportunity' for mining sector to advance UN sustainable goals, report finds
A report examining the role large scale mining can play in the UN’s plan of action for environmental sustainability and economic development says the industry has an “unprecedented opportunity” to further those goals.
In September 2015, countries across the world adopted a set of “17 Sustainable Development Goals” through the United Nations to “end poverty, protect the planet,” and “ensure prosperity for all”. This falls under the Sustainable development agenda.
The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development represents the world’s plan for social inclusion, environmental sustainability and economic development.
“When managed appropriately, it [the mining industry] can create jobs, spur innovation and bring investment and infrastructure at a game-changing scale over long term horizons,” reads the report, “Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas”.
But, the report also warns of the ramifications of a mismanaged industry: “if managed poorly, mining can also lead to environmental degradation, displaced populations, inequality and increased conflict, among other challenges.”
While acknowledging the challenges the mining industry has historically presented that the SDGs are trying to overcome, the report highlights the “significant advances” made towards the impact mining has on the world.
Minerals produced through mining have contributed essential building blocks to technologies, infrastructure energy and agriculture.
The report concludes that the mining industry can and already is significantly advancing the progression towards the SDGs but can only do so through continuous open dialogue across all sectors.
“A wealth of knowledge, thought and action is already under way across the industry that can be leveraged to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“Dialogue across sectors will ensure that best practices are shared and that the potential contribution of the mining industry is fully leveraged for sustainable development,” the report concludes.
You can read the full report here.
Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.