Rising global temperatures, the increasing frequency of severe weather events, changing precipitation patterns, and other measurable shifts in global climate have tangible impacts on societal and economic factors alike. The mining industry is not insulated from these impacts and, due to its global economic footprint, the industry is sensitive to the increasingly variable nature of our climate. In the face of this change, mining firms have developed and implemented a variety of climate-sensitive mining practices that attempt to mitigate the mining industry’s impact on climate change while adapting industry practices to operate more effectively in the face of a changing climate.
These practices are rooted in the fact that the mining industry is in a unique position to not only meet the new climate challenges, but to reap the benefits of the opportunities presented by climate change—namely, making timely investments in areas that can address climate challenges while delivering real sustainable economic value for host nations, while securing for themselves a stronger social license to operate. The industry overall is an extremely resilient one, owing in part to preexisting robust processes mining firms have put in place to prepare their physical and human capital to operate well in extreme environments. That being said, mining operations can be quite vulnerable to particular climate-related risks, including water scarcity (e.g., production shut downs, costs of water, competition for scarce resources) and extreme weather events which can lead to pit and underground flooding, pumping and dewatering costs, and increased erosion. Yet climate change also presents business opportunities—such as energy cost reduction, renewable power production, newly accessible mining sites, and overall operational efficiencies. Ultimately, water-energy nexus impacts are context specific, and can’t be generalized. The same notion applies to the climate-mining nexus. As such, this report proposes a methodology to prioritize value chain segments within multiple mining subsector for in-depth analysis.
The methodology proposed in this report is intended to provide the reference framework for policy makers to investigate the potential the segments of the mining industry primed to drive the uptake of climate-sensitive technologies and practices in emerging and developing markets, such that those policy makers might identify areas for policy interventions that can generate sustainable economic growth. By establishing the scope and scale of the inquiry, detailing initial inputs, and defining the methodological rigor while proving its robustness, this report will inform the report on Building Resilience: A Green Growth Framework for Mobilizing Mining Investment and its background reports.