Modern Mining March 2023
Golden opportunities to reduce climate-related risks By Terry Heymann, CFO at the World Gold Council The world’s ability to maintain economic resilience and support inclusive socio-economic development and environmental stability looks fragile. We have a clearer understanding than ever before of how to achieve these objectives but reaching them still seems elusive. Immediate risks – such as heightened inflation, trade tensions, looming recessionary pres sures and supply chain disruptions – need urgent responses. But they must not distract us from continuing to act on the climate change crisis.
Terry Heymann, CFO at the World Gold Council.
O ur most urgent task is the need to decarbo nise the global economy rapidly. Concurrently, as the physical impacts of a changing climate start to have more widespread and severe consequences, we need to build greater resilience. The problem is especially urgent in countries that have limited resources and capacities. This is a global problem requiring global responses. And if we fail, all the interconnected risks – economic, social, and environmental – will be exacerbated. However, the challenge of decoupling green house gas emissions from economic growth should not be underestimated. It requires us to systemically and structurally change the sources of power that have underpinned the global economy since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The need to change power sources and systems, whilst avoiding economic deprivation, has particu lar relevance for countries across Africa, including South Africa. Laying the groundwork and building new energy infrastructure will require greater col laboration with local governments, stakeholders, and communities. It will also require greater collabo ration across sectors. Addressing these challenges are high priorities for the gold mining sector. Mining
companies are developing and deploying strate gies to reduce climate-related risks in the locations where mines are sited, and in the neighbouring communities and beyond. Accelerating transition to renewable energy is an employability engine Gold Fields, for example, has mines in South Africa and Australia that are embracing renewables. Significantly, the company is committed to growing production while reducing total emissions, making its targeted reductions in the emissions intensity of production even more ambitious. Other gold mining companies are also being similarly ambitious, includ ing IAMGOLD in Burkina Faso, Endeavour in Cote d’Ivoire and Resolute Mining in Senegal. The precious metals mining community in South Africa also played a role in driving government’s removal of regulations, which had stifled domestic renewable energy development. The ability for gold mines to self-generate power on a practical scale from solar plants is helping to create a viable source of skills and infrastructure that will benefit other sec tors. In fact, allowing a local renewable energy sector to flourish invariably leads to job growth – often
Right: Resolute Mining is embracing renewable energy at its projects. Below: Mining companies are developing strategies to reduce climate-related risks.
16 MODERN MINING March 2023
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