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Climate Action 2011-2012

Special Focus: Africa

Special Focus: Africa mining Mining and climate change solutions in Africa in 2011 by a set of recommendations by CEOs on the way forward in addressing climate change by providing a set of principles and corporate commitments, as well as three focus areas for further analysis in ICMM’s work programme. This will be officially presented to the global policy community at the COP17 Conference in Durban, South Africa. © user:Ekem Mining is often associated with environmental damage. A prAgmAtic ApproAch After years of negotiations it has become clear that a legally binding global agreement is a distant prospect. While a global framework remains an important long-term goal, it is imperative that policies are based on current global realities. ICMM thus advocates a pragmatic approach that can help design effective and efficient national and sub-national policies. It is also important that policies and major industries look to complement each other to obtain the desired goals. 90 By Dr R Anthony Hodge, President, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Mining is often associated with environmental damage and pollution, and rarely seen as a force for good in the transition to a green economy. The mining and metals industry produces two per cent of all energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions in its direct activities, equivalent to that of Canada – the world’s sixth largest emitter. Nevertheless, this industry is an integral part of any long-term, sustainable solution to the challenge of climate change. The mining and metals sector not only supplies essential materials that form the backbone of modern society, but their production can contribute to new technologies and innovative solutions in the fight against climate change. For example, the steel used in each new wind turbine will require around 300 tonnes of iron ore and 250 tonnes of coking coal to make. Mining companies are also major consumers and producers of both high and low carbon energy (e.g. coal and uranium), giving them direct equity in the global policy debate on climate change. The ICMM was formed in 2001 by a group of CEOs committed to bridging the divide between the mining industry and the global sustainability agenda. In November 2009, ICMM released Policy on Climate Change, which outlined its members’ commitment to work together in a global effort to reduce carbon emissions. It was followed The mining and metals industry is an integral part of any longterm, sustainable solution to the challenge of climate change. ICMM members have a part to play in tackling many of the challenges brought about by climate change and they have committed to this goal. This includes developing greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies, ensuring efficient use of natural resources, supporting research and development of new technologies as well as measuring and reporting progress. A number of those operating in Africa have already devised inventive solutions that promote sustainable outcomes without sacrificing their competitive edge. cArbon trAding And methAne cApture In 2010, Gold Fields became the first gold mining company to engage in the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon trading scheme by capturing methane at its Beatrix Gold Mine in South Africa’s Free State province. The company derives Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) – financial securities used to trade carbon emissions – from this process, which are then sold on the global market. The funds earned from the initiative will be used to develop energy projects using the captured methane. In September 2011, the project was registered by the UNFCCC. It is expected to reduce the company’s carbon

dioxide emissions by 1.7 million tonnes between 2011 and 2018. This project is a prime example of how mining companies can channel their technical expertise towards a sustainable and market-friendly outcome. energy eFFiciency And new technologieS In South Africa, mining companies are faced with growing environmental concerns, proposed carbon taxes and rising electricity prices. Because commodity prices are set on global markets, these pressures have to be absorbed by companies, with negative implications for their competitiveness. Currently 17 per cent below government targets on energy use, AngloGold Ashanti is faced with the challenge of keeping within these limits while expanding its operations. As a result it has channelled its resources into developing a cutting edge energy savings system. The majority of a deep underground mining company’s electricity consumption is taken by compressed air systems, ventilation fans and refrigeration – essential when working at higher temperatures underground. AngloGold Ashanti has undertaken a number of whole system improvement projects, one of which is the optimisation of their air compression network using a hi-tech computer simulation program, investing R5 million (US$ 635,704). It will result in an annual electricity saving of 2.7 megawatts, roughly equivalent to 25 kilotonnes of CO 2 emissions. AdApting to chAnge Climate change adaptation must also play a part in the global response. The effects of a changing climate can be visibly felt across the African continent – with altered water levels, shrinking forests and soil erosion evolving at an alarming speed. East Africa is currently experiencing its worst drought in 60 years. Climate scientists suggest the frequency and duration of these events will continue to increase over time, highlighting the need for countries to develop climate resilience. 66 affordable homes for employees have been built from the gypsum waste. Anglo American and BHP Billiton have developed an award-winning partnership with the eMalahleni municipality in South Africa to address water shortages and mitigate the threat of pollution. The eMalahleni Water Reclamation Plant – situated in the Witbank coalfields of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province – has successfully harnessed the power of coal mining for a sustainable and socially beneficial outcome. Originally developed to address operational, safety and environmental challenges, the plant desalinates rising underground water from Anglo American Thermal Coal’s Landau, Greenside and Kleinkopje collieries, as well as from the closed BHP Billiton South Witbank coal mine. It not only prevents polluted water from entering local rivers, but treats 30 megalitres of potable water each day, the bulk of which is pumped directly into the municipality’s reservoir. This meets about 12 per cent of the city’s water needs. A daily by-product of the water reclamation is 200 tonnes of gypsum-based solids, and this has been used successfully to make bricks. So far, 66 affordable homes for employees have been built from the gypsum waste and it is hoped that it will soon be expanded to a total of 300 residential units. The project has been recognised as an example of good practice in public-private sector partnerships by UNFCCC. moving ForwArd Climate change responses must not have an adverse effect on the social and economic development goals of African countries. Instead the measures must complement sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction while enhancing countries’ readiness to adapt to climatic changes. This means that policies may vary country to country, or even within a country. ICMM members are committed to working with African governments to develop robust policies and regulations that are appropriate for the local context. The Council advocates an approach that helps both exposed populations and industries in this transition, and encourages the development and use of low-carbon technology. Effective climate policy can only be implemented in partnership: neither governments, companies, nor civil society can solve these challenges alone. Dr R Anthony Hodge is the President of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM). An appointed Professor of Mining and Sustainability at Queen’s University, Canada, he has previously been the President of Friends of the Earth Canada. He served on the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) from 1992-1996. Through 2001 and 2002 he led the North American component of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) project, a multi-stakeholder research initiative that examined the role of mining, metals and minerals in a sustainable future. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was established in 2001 to improve sustainable development performance in the mining and metals industry. Today, it brings together 21 of the world’s largest mining and metals companies as well as 32 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations. Our vision is one of leading companies working together and with others to strengthen the contribution of mining, minerals and metals to sustainable development. ICMM, 35-38 Portman Square London W1H 6LR, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7467 5070 | Email: Web: 91