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Climate change

Climate change is a real and undeniable threat, affecting human wellbeing and environmental health in every country on every continent.

As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to decarbonisation and sustainable development, our industry has a responsibility to lead from the front and minimise the impact of operations on the environment. Our work in the years ahead will focus on developing short-and-medium term pathways towards our net zero goal. This includes developing Scope 3 target setting and reporting guidance, and advancing our Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative (ICSV) towards the ambition of enabling mining operations to adopt GHG-free surface mining vehicles as soon as possible.

Issue at a glance

  • Around the world, people’s lives and livelihoods are being threatened by extreme weather induced food and water scarcity.
  • Minerals and metals are integral to the low carbon innovations needed to accelerate pathways to a more sustainable world. This notwithstanding, neither communities nor the environment should be regarded as collateral damage in the rush to support a low carbon future.
  • ICMM members collectively commit to a goal of net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and will set meaningful short and medium-term targets to build clear pathways to achieving this goal, while also accelerating action to address scope 3 emissions and enhance disclosure.
  • Access to ore is more difficult within mature operations – where deposits are deeper and grades lesser – requiring more trucks to drive longer hauling distances. Mining vehicles can account for >50% of total direct emissions at a mine, meaning that we need new solutions to meet operational needs.

Our priorities

Goal of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner

The level of GHG emissions in the atmosphere is raising temperatures on both sea and land, increasing the severity and occurrence of extreme weather events, and accelerating the melting of ice caps. As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to decarbonisation and sustainable development, our industry has a responsibility to lead from the front and minimise its impact on the environment. As a consequence, we are working with members to support conformance with ICMM’s 2021 Climate Change Position Statement, and alongside stakeholders to develop guidance on Scope 3 emissions accounting and reporting to enable meaningful action with upstream and downstream stakeholders.


GHG-free surface mining vehicles by 2040

There are around 28,000 large mine hauling trucks in operation – collectively emitting over 68 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Electric and hydrogen fuelled trucks offer alternatives to more traditional diesel-powered transportation, and ICMM is working alongside original equipment manufacturers to promote operational and technological innovation that will enable mining operations to adopt GHG-free surface mining vehicles by 2040. We are doing this by increasing the operational readiness of mine sites to be able to adopt zero-emission solutions at a faster pace, including the enabling infrastructure, capacity building and clean energy procurement. To help companies start a conversation on how to progress action on promoting operational and technological innovations, a Maturity Framework has been developed to determine an operation’s current and future desired status.


Accelerating the use of low-emission technologies

On an average mine site, around half of energy consumption is electricity and the rest comes from the use of fossil fuels, mainly diesel. ICMM members are focused on making progress in mitigating GHG emissions across the full emissions profile. Towards this end, we are supporting members to overcome challenges in adopting zero-emissions solutions by developing technical insights that help promote collective progress on tackling direct emissions at the mine site and across the value chain. We are also working more broadly, to motivate uptake of low/zero-emission solutions across the industry.