Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) have developed a framework that aims to reduce the mining industry’s impact on climate change.
The proposed framework accounts for sources and sinks of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it identifies major mitigation pathways.
They include fugitive emissions reduction, resource efficiency, energy usage and biological solutions.
The framework, which is published in Nature Geoscience, examines the sources of GHG emissions across the mining supply chain; from mining, ore processing and transportation to waste management, according to UQ Sustainable Minerals Institute researcher Mehdi Azadi.
Primary mineral and metal production accounted for about 10 per cent of the world’s energy-related GHG emissions in 2018.
“Rising standards of living have led to increasing demand for mining activities to provide the minerals and metals required by many technologies,” Azadi said.
“While the mining sector contributes to global emissions, it is also affected by climate change.
“…But this isn’t just about reducing mining’s effect on climate change, it is also about reducing climate change’s effect on mining; the industry needs accurate data to reduce its carbon footprint and improve risk management.”
University of Delaware professor Saleem H. Ali said carbon accounting in mining was increasingly important.
“Carbon accounting of mining is becoming even more urgent now because minerals for clean energy infrastructure are being widely explored,” he said.
SMI director Neville Plint added that the framework reflected the institute’s commitment to working with the minerals industry to implement sustainable changes.
“An important part of improving mining’s role in a sustainable world is working with industry to develop and implement solutions that are practical and effective – this framework is a great example of that,” Plint concluded.