- Minerals Council unpacks more of its position and guidelines on climate change. (0.95 MB)
In sharing its stance on climate change at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, the Minerals Council South Africa has acknowledged that the mining industry can, and should, play a role in adapting to and mitigating the consequences of climate change in South Africa.
This includes efforts to support a Just Energy Transition (JET) in the country, while still promoting investment into clean coal technologies and alternative coal uses.
“Although the future will see coal making up a lower fraction of the South African energy mix, future research and development investment into clean coal technologies and alternative coal uses presents an opportunity to extend the life of the coal mining industry.
“During this transition, it is also critical to ensure energy security,” the council states.
The council has shared its commitment to participate in a responsible transition to a net-zero carbon economy and to prioritise climate resilient development.
“The technology-enabled transition away from fossil fuels is among other factors dependent on the availability of key minerals used in the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies, many of which are currently mined or exist in South Africa.
“Therefore, mining has a critical role to play in the transition,” the Minerals Council states.
The council adds that any changes made in response to climate change will likely have near and long-term economic, social and environmental outcomes, which should be considered for its positive and negative impacts.
The Minerals Council deems it critical to develop partnerships with key role-players, including suppliers, investors and government, to reduce emissions all along the value chain. It is also critical to establish collaborations with these role-players and communities, civil society and organised labour to bring about an energy transition that supports and enables sustainable development.
Moreover, the council says incentives to the private sector to invest in low carbon technology are necessary, especially to maintain the competitiveness of internationally trade-exposed industries. “Companies must remain viable to ensure we are equipped to adapt to a changing world, while creating shared value.
“This is essential to meeting obligations to shareholders and workforces, and making sure that companies can invest in the required green technologies,” the council puts forward.
The Minerals Council itself has committed to taking on an advisory and leadership role, and to continue advocating for members’ needs in terms of climate change and its challenges.
In line with this role, the council has developed a set of detailed guidelines for members to follow as they proceed to fulfil climate change mitigation commitments, starting with analysing their status quo and determining how far they are in their journey towards reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Following this, Minerals Council suggests a gap analysis must be done, to identify existing shortcomings with reference to the Minerals Council Climate Change Position Statement and other recommendations. Based on this, the council recommends that an action plan be prepared.
Some of the statements in the Climate Change Position Statement include that Scope 1 and 2 emissions have to be reduced over the next five to 15 years, with net zero emissions ideally by 2050. The Minerals Council also wishes for its members to collaborate with its supply chain partners to reduce Scope 3 emissions and to integrate the management of climate solutions into management practices.
Moreover, the council suggests members improve their transparency of public reporting and disclose their emissions profiles, as well as climate change mitigation performances.
Some of the council’s more targeted suggestions include decarbonising haul fleets with battery technology and hydrogen fuel cells and participating in carbon markets and credit schemes.
The council is also strongly supportive of integrating renewable energy into mining operations and using smart energy optimisation systems.
In terms of the JET, the Minerals Council says it is imperative that green jobs are created and that the impacts of labour dislocation are managed. It suggests that companies develop tools and guidance for vulnerability assessments and adaptation activities for host communities and small businesses to define their own development pathway in the transition.
The council also emphasises the need to understand the required equilibrium between the closure landscape and the existing landscape, and accounting for impacts on economic development.
The Minerals Council says it has devoted much work to developing this policy framework and guidelines to facilitate the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. “We offer the assurance that our energy to address mitigating our part of the global climate change crisis will not falter,” the council states.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
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