Anglo American offers eDNA data to protect biodiversity
Anglo American is the first mining company to work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and NatureMetrics by sharing its eDNA data to support the eBioAtlas programme; an initiative to combat extinction by using DNA technology to create a global atlas of the state of life in rivers and wetlands of world importance.
What is the eBioAtlas?
eBioAtlas is an ambitious partnership between NatureMetrics and IUCN to rapidly create a global atlas of life in the world’s largest river basins and wetlands using cutting-edge eDNA technology. It will provide a comprehensive picture of freshwater species in each location, mobilising local stakeholders and citizen scientists to fill in critical knowledge gaps to support conservation efforts and inform global policy to reverse the loss of biodiversity.
Anglo American is supporting the environment beyond life of mine
“eDNA analysis enhances the way we evaluate risk and meet – or even exceed – environmental regulations, track progress towards biodiversity targets, and reduce monitoring cost and efforts," said Anglo American's Biodiversity Principal, Warwick Mostert. "Anglo American strongly supports the eBioAtlas initiative and looks forward to working with its partners and collaborators to deliver this programme.
“When a mine is in full operation, it will become a key part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation in terms of our biodiversity performance. When we start to get to the point where an operation is coming to closure, it will allow us to make sure the work has been done and we can meet our objective of restoring an environment to better than its pre-mining state.”
Who are NatureMetrics?
NatureMetrics is an award-winning technology start-up using cutting-edge genetic techniques to monitor biodiversity. We can uncover multiple species from complex environmental samples in low-cost and repeatable ways. By surveying everything from bats to bacteria, we help understanding of how to protect and build natural capital through activities such as farming, energy generation and forestry.
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.