Climate change poses one of the most serious threats to societies, economies and environments across the globe. A changing climate also creates significant challenges for the mining and metals industry. These risks include flood and storm damage to infrastructure, transport disruption affecting supply chain reliability and increased competition for climate-sensitive resources such as water and energy. More broadly, climate change impacts are affecting people’s health, crop yields, water availability and settlements (IPCC, 2014).
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing further warming is critical to addressing climate change – but so is adaptation. Adaptation is needed to address the impacts of climate change that are happening now, to increase resilience to future impacts and to enable sustainable socio-economic development.
Understanding climate change impacts on mining operations
In 2016, ICMM launched an interactive/online Mining Climate Assessment tool that enables members to easily access relevant, comparable future climate projection data sets for anywhere in the world. Accessing such data is an important first step in developing and implementing plans that respond to material climate risks that could impact assets and operations.
ICMM has also published Adapting to a changing climate: implications for the mining and metals industry which provides guidance on developing strategies to adapt to such change.
Supporting host communities to adapt to climate change
With many of the acute physical impacts of climate change occurring in vulnerable regions, the mining and metals industry has a responsibility to support host communities in adapting. One way ICMM member companies are working to improve climate resilience relates to strengthening the availability of fresh water. By adopting ICMM’s water stewardship framework, member companies promote the consideration of water users beyond the boundary of a mining operation.
ICMM has piloted a participatory approach to support a mining host community in the Andes region of Peru to understand, prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change.