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Adapting to a Changing Climate: Building Resilience in the Mining and Metals Industry

18 November 2019

Incorporating experiences and insights from ICMM members and other experts, this guidance provides an overview of how a changing climate could impact the mining and metals sector, identifies ways that companies can integrate climate considerations into existing risk management processes and sets out a stepwise process for building climate resilience.

  • A changing climate will affect the mining and metals sector in various ways, both directly and indirectly. For example, extreme weather events and longer-term shifts in climate patterns have the potential to damage fixed assets and disrupt supply chains.
  • For the mining and metals sector, building operational resilience to physical climate change depends on a company’s ability to adapt to changes, anticipate what might happen next and absorb weather and climate-related shocks when they happen.
  • Companies are well advised to integrate climate change drivers within existing risk management and planning procedures and identify the 'hooks' for climate risk and resilience within existing activities and across the entire asset life cycle.
  • Climate adaptation also presents opportunities for the mining and metals sector. Reducing exposure to climate-related risks can reduce costs, preserve or enhance revenues, improve stakeholder relationships and help identify new business opportunities.
  • Climate risk and business resilience cuts across virtually all components of the mining system and business units.  To develop a comprehensive picture of the key climate-related risks and opportunities multi-disciplinary teams are needed, as well as capacity building and training of staff.
  • Companies should involve external stakeholders – particularly host communities – in discussions about how to build resilience and manage climate risk. This is not only important for relationship building but will also help avoid ‘maladaptation’, whereby the adaptation actions of one group can have negative consequences for others.
  • By building climate resilience today, companies can reap rewards tomorrow – limiting future liabilities, safeguarding business continuity, making prudent investments and ensuring the sustainability of communities and ecosystems.