JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Tackling climate change could not be more urgent, Anglo American said on Monday when it presented its biannual sustainability performance update.
“For the emissions that we control in our business, we have come a long way, delivering our 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22% a year early,” stated Anglo CEO Mark Cutifani, who described the securing of 100% renewable electricity supply across its operations in Brazil, Chile and Peru marked as another major step in that it cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from those operations by approximately 70%.
Cutifani, who presented the report together with Anglo group director sustainable impact Anik Michaud and FD Stephen Pearce, cited the development of a hydrogen-powered mine haul truck at the Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine in Limpopo as having the potential to remove another major emission source from Anglo’s business and forecast that green hydrogen, the generation of which supports the use of the iridium and platinum produced by the company, would be cost competitive.
“At the same time, we continue working on reducing our Scope 3 emissions. Our planned demerger of our thermal coal assets in South Africa is part of the journey. However, we have a long way to go, including how we more effectively impact the value chains that we are a part of, and how best to work along value chains to mitigate the risks and maximise the benefits associated with the transition to a low carbon future. Data is always central to our analysis and we are doing the work now so that we can set out our clear ambition in October at our next update,” said Cutifani, who described a sustainable business as one that had an enduring purpose in society and that considered in all its decision-making the many different forms of value that it could deliver for all stakeholders, including the natural environment.
Michaud said the tempo of Anglo’s sustainability reports were being lifted to twice a year, as with the company’s financials.
“We absolutely welcome the growing interest from our sharholders and stakeholders alike, not least because sustainability considerations are integrated into every aspect of how we run our business day to day,” Michaud added.
Pearce said there was not an investor meeting that happened now without a detailed discussion of all aspects of ESG and a business planning process had been set up across the organisation to prioritise and provide insight on ESG. In line with this, five-year sustainability plans had also been developed across all group functions, including in group finance, with many initiatives progressing exceptionally well.
The company’s purpose of re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives guided the company’s delivery of sustainable value to its shareholders, employees, and broader business and societal stakeholders.
“Improving people’s lives is what we believe sustainable businesses must deliver – both through the direct value we create in terms of employment and economic and social contribution, but also to the world at large through the metals and minerals we provide, many of which are fundamental to decarbonisation and meeting global consumer demand for everyday through to specialty and luxury products,” Cutifani said.
With its portfolio deliberately tilted towards those future-enabling products, it was the company’s duty to supply metals and minerals as responsibly as current technologies allowed, while continuing to stretch itself and its business partners to improve performance further.
In early 2018, Anglo set a series of goals spanning environmental, social and governance in the shape of its Sustainable Mining Plan.
“We are making good progress towards delivery on those goals but we also recognise that the world moves on, as do society’s expectations of us. We have added to the original goals, including our commitment to reach net zero across our operational footprint by 2040, with roughly a third of our operations to get there a decade earlier, in 2030.
“Likewise, we have also raised the bar again in terms of our approach to social performance, with the implementation in 2020 of our Social Way 3.0, a rigorous management system to drive consistently better outcomes for host communities.
“Just as financial performance presents an opportunity for differentiation, we see sustainability no differently – it is integral to how we all work and plan and is central to our overall business performance. Our Sustainable Mining Plan commitments must be relevant and stretching, so we will continue to evolve them across the business.
“Much of what we are driving for, particularly in terms of our energy and water ambitions, will be achieved through the technologies we are deploying as part of our FutureSmart Mining™ programme. These technologies are transforming the very nature of mining – how we source, mine, process, move and market our products – and how our stakeholders experience our business. This is about transforming our physical and social footprints,” Cutifani said.