ICMM discusses the contribution of mining and metals to a low carbon economy at COP18

ICMM hosted a side event at the 18th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP18) in Doha, Qatar. The event demonstrated how mining and metals are contributing to a low carbon economy, both with respect to its internal operations and final product.

“Contrary to common perceptions, a future low carbon economy will continue to rely on mining and metals products,” said John Drexhage, Director of Climate Change at ICMM.

The event featured a panel discussion around the contribution of mining and metals towards a low carbon economy with panellists Jan du Plessis (Gold Fields), Axel Michaelowa (Perspectives), Simone Cooper (representing ICMM) and Asa Ekdahl (World Steel Association). John Drexhage (ICMM) chaired the panel.

Gold Fields focused on the case of the Beatrix Gold Mine in South Africa. A number of benefits for the mine were touched upon, including the removal of approximately 55% of methane gas from the air in the mine resulting in reduced risk of methane related incidents. Gold Fields also highlighted how the mine’s carbon footprint has been reduced by approximately 25%. 

Axel Michaelowa spoke about the need for an energy strategy integrating climate policy and the importance of understanding the use of carbon market instruments to generate internal knowledge that can be used to influence policy design.

Simone Cooper emphasized how minerals and metals are critical inputs for a low carbon future and gave examples of realizing abatement potential in transportation and buildings.

Asa Ekdahl focused on the production aspect of steel and the commitment within the industry to reduce CO2 emissions, but acknowledged the challenge of developing new breakthrough technology. She highlighted that the innovative use of steel can save six times as much CO2 as caused by its production.

ICMM will hold a second event at COP18 on 30 November at the EU Pavilion. The event will focus on principles for climate change policy design and will present the results of two pieces of research commissioned by ICMM, one on a comparative analysis of how different regulatory authorities' carbon pricing schemes may affect the competitiveness of the mining and metals industry; the other providing a comprehensive summary of current climate revenue recycling schemes.

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