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SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG7 calls for universal access to sustainable energy services, a substantial increase in the contribution of renewable sources to the energy mix, and a doubling of energy efficiency measures. 

Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Access to energy is critical for education, healthcare, job creation, food production, transportation and enabling information and communications technology. Yet one in five people still lack access to electricity and 3 billion rely on wood, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. Today the majority of the world’s climate emissions can be traced to fossil fuel production, so a managed and timely transition to clean energy is essential.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

Mining is energy intensive and accounts for almost two per cent of global energy use. It also is a major producer of energy products. While thermal coal contributes to greenhouse gases, uranium has a potentially important role in achieving a low-carbon future. This also holds true for minerals such as lithium or rare earth elements, which are essential for renewable energy technologies alongside steel, copper and aluminium. The industry can also cut its emissions through the adoption of energy efficiencies and the deployment of renewable technologies. The remote location of many mines also offers potential for shared-use energy infrastructure, to enable access to people who would otherwise have none.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. The types and sources of energy used at an operational or facility level and how this influences the energy and carbon intensity of products.

  2. An assessment of opportunities for energy saving or reductions in carbon intensity, barriers to uptake and how these might be overcome.

  3. How the transition to a low-carbon future may affect long-term business opportunities.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Develop a full understanding of energy sources and their influence on energy or carbon intensity of products.

  • Pursue energy efficiency opportunities and audit energy use to improve performance.

  • Collaborate with partners to develop effective mitigation technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

  • Explore opportunities to share energy infrastructure with other users, particularly where communities have limited access.
  • Collaborate with the responsible authorities to make energy infrastructure for mining available for use by communities post-closure.
  • Pursue opportunities to substitute carbon-intensive sources with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.