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Empowered through carbon

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There is a growing expectation for mining companies to balance the demand for increased production with a more comprehensive commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Empowered through carbon 

The importance of mining to the green economy cannot be overstated. The industry plays a critical role in providing the essential mineral components needed to support an ever-expanding list of green technologies as well as decarbonisation and climate adaptation infrastructure.

By Joshua Kilani, Managing Director at Xpotential Mining Services (XMS)

The mining industry has undergone a significant transformation in the public’s perception. It is no longer solely seen as an extractive industry that merely supplies unfinished raw materials but is recognised as a transformative sector capable of providing critical future materials.

These developments signify a significant evolution in the mining industry’s role, as it continues to contribute to the world’s progress towards a sustainable and green future.

As the mining industry undergoes this evolution, there is a growing expectation for mining companies to balance the demand for increased production with a more comprehensive commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

This requires adopting a materials stewardship mentality and aligning mining outputs with sustainability outcomes. It also means operationalising corporate social responsibility into impactful projects that foster socio-economic development and simultaneously protect the environment.

As mining companies strive to implement such impactful projects, it is critical that they consider the mining industry’s significant contributions to global carbon emissions and adopt proactive approaches that leverage decarbonisation solutions.

Improving financial feasibility (Empowered through carbon) 

By integrating a decarbonisation scope into sustainability projects, through the voluntary carbon markets, mining companies can generate additional revenue from their projects while significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the industry.

Improving the financial feasibility of sustainability projects is crucial in establishing self-sustaining initiatives that can endure beyond the life of a mine.

However, leveraging the mechanisms of the carbon markets should not be regarded as a license for excessive emissions. Rather, it should be viewed as a way for mining companies to offset unavoidable emissions while fulfilling a necessary societal need. It is crucial to recognise that carbon markets offer a means for companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, not just a way to pay for the privilege of polluting.

Voluntary carbon markets can drive sustainable development (Empowered through carbon) 

The promulgation of the South African carbon tax and its anticipated escalation underscores the business imperative of integrating decarbonisation into sustainability projects, this is particularly relevant to the coal industry, within the frameworks of “abated coal” and a “just transition.”

Although emission reductions remain the primary metric, voluntary carbon markets have the potential to drive sustainable development in communities where mines operate.

By generating carbon credit projects from local sustainability initiatives, it is possible to address concerns regarding the integrity and quality of carbon offsets.

Within the evolving “quality tiers” of carbon offsets, projects that create tangible impacts and provide co-benefits aligned with the SDGs are considered higher quality. Co-benefits of sustainability projects may include job creation, gender equality, education, technology transfer, access to public health, access to clean water, access to energy, biodiversity, and air quality.

Overall leveraging carbon markets is a crucial opportunity for mining companies to support their sustainability goals and generate additional revenue. Market-based mechanisms are not perfect, but they are a vital tool in the fight against climate change, and their potential should not be overlooked.

XMS is committed to ensuring the integrity of voluntary carbon markets and developing solutions in line with international best practices. With our expertise and knowledge of market dynamics, we can provide the necessary guidance and support to help mining companies transition from being carbon powered to empowered through carbon.

Joshua Kilani is Managing Director at Xpotential Mining Services (XMS)

Empowered through carbon 

WhyAfrica provides on the ground information and business intelligence about the sustainable utilisation and extraction of natural resources in Africa, and can assist your company through:  

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Empowered through carbon

 

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AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management