While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


The report aims to facilitate the uptake by the mining industry of climate-sensitive production and procurement practices that have the potential to support in-country value creation and green growth in the country of operation. To that end, the report proposes a framework through which green growth imperatives are integrated in policies and practices designed to maximize local economic value creation in mineral-rich emerging and developing economies. The report shows that such efforts have the potential to support sustainable development while generating returns for private sector investors.

This report addresses mining companies operating in mineral-rich emerging and developing economies seeking to climate-proof their production and procurement processes and policy makers in those economies seeking to devise policies to mitigate the impact of mining operations on the climate. It aims to help them identify what can be done to integrate climate resilience into investment and economic policies to support in-country value creation and the development of diversified sources of green growth. It may also be useful for donor organizations, institutional investors, private foundations, and fund managers—as potential mitigation and adaptation project funders—to help them understand how finance mechanisms may be tailored to support climate-sensitive mining investment and policies. This report focuses on the water-mining and energy-mining nexus, but most of the insights and findings are relevant outside that context.

This report adopts the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) definition of green growth: “fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies.” The focus of green growth strategies is to ensure that natural assets can deliver their full economic potential on a sustainable basis. To achieve this objective, green growth strategies must catalyze the investment and innovation that underpin sustained growth and generate new economic opportunities. This report focuses on the mining industry because of its criticality to global economic activity and development. As a proxy indicator of the global importance of mining, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that a single automobile requires more than a ton of iron and steel, 240 pounds of aluminum, 50 pounds of carbon, 42 pounds of copper, 41 pounds of silicon, 22 pounds of zinc, and more than 30 other mineral commodities, including titanium, platinum, and gold. The importance of minerals in everyday life is hardly recognized by the vast majority of people. According to the U.S. Bureau of Mines, over the course of a lifetime, an individual will use more than 1,050 pounds of lead, 1,050 pounds of zinc, 1,750 pounds of copper, 4,550 pounds of aluminum, 91,000 pounds of iron and steel, 360,500 pounds of coal, and one million pounds of industrial minerals such as limestone, clay, and gravel. Simply put, the world runs on minerals produced by the mining industry. Furthermore, according to a study from Oxford Policy Management, over 75 percent of all mineral-dependent countries are low or middle income, often with low levels of economic and institutional development and therefore more limited capacity to guide the sustainable development of their mineral sectors.

Policies that incentivize investment behavior in areas of climate interest in which the public sector and mining companies overlap—such as emissions, water availability, and sea level rise—can yield investments into, and local procurement supporting, new value chains built on clean energy, water infrastructure, automation, and sea walls and other retaining infrastructure within a host nation, modernizing an economy while positioning it for sustained growth. This collaborative vision, of policy-incentivized and operationally necessary procurement and investment behavior into industrial sectors whose high growth is driven by climate realities, is ultimately what this report refers to as green growth.

This report is intended to cover policies designed to drive investment behavior into productive sectors of economies. As such, policies intended to drive consumer behavior or policies related to the management of fiscal revenue generated by the mining industry are outside the scope of this report.

The report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Prevailing Policy Approaches to Climate: In an effort to describe the climate policy context and environment in which mining firms are operating, this chapter provides an overview of the primary climate policy levers used by various jurisdictions and gives a sense of how they might be used in the context of a green industrial policy framework.
  • Chapter 2: The Mining Industry Heat Map: This chapter identifies the primary areas of existing and potential climate-sensitive impacts to the mining value chain across four different mineral subsectors to account for variations in production operations. Areas that are more exposed to or are more likely to influence climate change are identified in a heat map. The analysis offers insights on areas where policy focus and industry activity have the greatest potential to lead the transition to a green economy.
  • Chapter 3: Mining Firms’ Climate Practices: This chapter discusses mining companies’ motivations for climate action, provides an accounting of operational activities with high potential to drive local value creation in a green economy, and points to some potential gaps that hinder the mining sector’s contribution to green growth.
  • Chapter 4: A Green Growth Framework for Mining Firms and Government: This chapter proposes a framework for policy makers and mining firms to develop their approach to climate adaptation and mitigation and local value creation in a manner that maximizes opportunities for green growth.

This report is informed by, and summarizes the findings of, four background reports that contain a more in-depth analysis of the topics presented in chapters 1 to 3 (Methodology and Value Chain Analysis; Mining Firms’ Climate-Sensitive Initiatives; Climate-Sensitive Mining: Case Studies; and Policy Approaches to Climate Change in Mineral Rich Countries).

Related Information

Methodology and value chain analysis https://apo.org.au/node/244191

Mining firms’ climate-sensitive initiatives https://apo.org.au/node/244181

Climate-sensitive mining: case studies https://apo.org.au/node/244161

Policy approaches to climate change in mineral rich countries https://apo.org.au/node/244186

Publication Details
License type:
Access Rights Type:
Publication place:
Washington, DC