Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani believes technology is the way forward for the company’s sustainability plan as it aims to become carbon neutral by year 2040.
Cutifani said that the connection between its sustainable mining plan and technology work is “inseparable”, in particular its FutureSmart Mining program.
The FutureSmart Mining program will help Anglo American to deliver a 10 per cent reduction in energy and water intensity per operation, with sustainable bulk ore sorting.
“Tackling climate change is the defining challenge of our times,” Cutifani said. “We have set ourselves an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040, with eight of our assets to get there by 2030.
“Our underlying principle is to reduce carbon going into the atmosphere and we have clear pathways.”
For scope 1 and 2 emissions, Anglo American will continue transitioning its portfolio towards metals and minerals that support a more sustainable world with its South African thermal coal operations planned for a likely demerger.
Once thermal coal moves out of Anglo American’s portfolio, the company intends to replace it with growth in its copper and crop nutrients commodities.
Anglo American is also set to increase its usage of renewable energy; using 100 per cent renewables in Chile from 2021, Brazil in 2022 and is trialling its green hydrogen fuel-cell powered haul truck in South Africa in 2021.
The company is also approaching its scope 3 emissions, which mostly come from its customers.
“We have a high level of control or influence over the source of emissions we can drive emissions down,” Cutifani explained.
“Our customers’ emissions of course make up most of our scope 3, particularly in the steel value chain and we have little control of, or influence over those emissions.
“We are evaluating the best ways for us to play our part, including through partnerships with our customers where we can build on a mutual ambition to reduce emissions.”
Anglo American will begin reporting against its 2030 water targets from 2021 and update on the delivery of its 2020 targets early next year.
These targets include reducing the abstraction of fresh water by 20 per cent and increasing water recycling levels to 75 per cent.
Anglo American’s 2030 water target is to reduce abstraction of fresh water in scarce regions by 50 per cent.