Future of mining ‘looks rocky with $16bn climate risk’

Some of the largest firms in the global mining industry have $16 billion (£12.3bn) at risk in climate costs. That’s according to a new report from the CDP, which suggests many […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Some of the largest firms in the global mining industry have $16 billion (£12.3bn) at risk in climate costs.

That’s according to a new report from the CDP, which suggests many of the mining’s biggest players remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels and plough roughly a quarter of their investments into the sector.

That’s despite sourcing around half of their power from renewables and spending around half of all capital expenditure on commodities that would benefit from low carbon technologies such as copper and nickel.

The report suggests the 12 firms studied, which include Vale, Boliden and BHP, are generally distancing themselves from coal but the benefits gained from this have been offset by a doubling in oil and gas production over the last six years.

Nine of the 12 businesses have taken steps to reduce the emissions intensity of operations but significant risks still remain for the sector through their supply of products to emissions-intensive industries – changes in regulation and consumption patterns could disrupt this.

China could also disrupt demand as it adopts a leadership role in climate change regulation and carbon pricing, signifying a strong transition to a low carbon economy.

Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP, said: “The mining sector must take stock and not risk being left behind in the global transition towards a low carbon economy.

“Miners depend on continuing demand for the commodities they supply and the countries consuming the most commodities are making significant changes in addressing climate change.”