Rio Tinto site in Utah the first to be awarded Copper Mark
During assessment, Kennecott met over 30 criteria for responsible environmental, governance and social practices.
The Copper Mark is the only such responsible production programme in the copper industry. It was devised by the International Copper Association, with input from a range of industry stakeholders, but is now an independent entity.
The Copper Mark’s Executive Director, Michèle Brülhart, commented on the award: “We congratulate Rio Tinto’s Kennecott site and the leadership they are taking to mine responsibly. We welcome them as our first awarded site.”
The President of the International Copper Association, Tony Lea, added: “The Copper Mark is an important milestone for the global copper industry and reflects stakeholders’ needs for greater transparency. We hope more producers will follow Rio Tinto’s lead and apply for the Copper Mark.”
Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive for Copper and Diamonds, Arnaud Soirat, commented: “We are proud to lead the copper industry in being awarded the Copper Mark, demonstrating our commitment to responsible production and transparency.
“The Copper Mark allows our customers to purchase copper from operations that have been independently assessed as meeting the highest environmental, social and governance standards, responding to the growing expectations of consumers around the world for sustainable supply chains.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the Copper Mark and seeing this new programme embraced widely along the value chain, to support the role copper continues to play as a key material in a sustainable future.”
BHP deliberates ditching fossil fuels for greener mining
The world’s biggest miner, Australian-based BHP, is supposedly considering withdrawing from a multi-billion dollar contract, which would see the company generate more than US$2bn due to mounting pressure over aligning its business with ongoing climate concerns and ESG-compliance measures.
Exiting the agreement would mean BHP escalate its distancing from oil and gas and subsequently cut down on the amount of fossil fuels used by the company when mining.
It’s estimated that the petroleum business being debated upon could actually be worth around US$15bn but is still under talks to be put up for sale.
Global Mining Giant Considers Greener Future
BHP has made itself clear that it wants to avoid becoming unable to sell its assets. As competition within the market increases following higher numbers of oil giants wrestling with investors to deal with climate pressure, so too are the number of mining rivals looking to make environmental changes for the future.
However, BHP currently has the upper hand as a stalwart mining company that established itself back in the 1960s, allowing it the time to grow and dominate over other fast-appearing mining competition.
Mike Henry, BHP Chief Executive, has an optimistic outlook for the future of oil and gas despite worries over rising demand to align his business with the Paris Climate Agreement. Henry argues that prices remain promising due to a lack of industry-wide investment.
BHP’s petroleum business won’t be easy to say goodbye to. Forecasted to generate around 6% of profits during the ongoing financial year (US$2bn), and around US$1.6bn revenue produced by BHP petroleum in the six months leading to December 2020, BHP is due to take a hit no matter what agreement they choose.
On the other hand, distancing itself from thermal coal and petroleum would arguably aid the company’s case to possible - and valuable - investors who may be required to fund BHP’s increased output to places such as Australia and Mexico in the near future.
BHP considers cutting billion-dollar contract to aid climate
An exit away from petroleum has the potential to be “a powerful corporate catalyst,” says Dominic Kane, Analyst at JP Morgan.
“We believe an exit would likely ring-fence BHP’s exceptional cash flows for non-fossil fuel organic growth, mergers and acquisitions and generous shareholder distributions since BHP could avoid a major new capital investment phase this decade in petroleum.”
BHP is also set to sanction a giant US$5.7bn Canadian potash mine in August of this year, already seeing potash as a long-term substitute for gas and oil going into the future. The company has also previously announced plans to abandon its 80% share in its joint endeavour with Mitsui, owner of two lower-quality mines in Queensland, Australia.
BHP is scheduled to report its annual results on August 17, after which it may become clearer on whether the company will choose to focus its shift to a low-carbon economy or whether it will stay with its current contract into the coming year.