New GRI standards to address sustainability impacts of the mining sector

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Aiming to address stakeholder transparency concerns, the GRI Standard for the global mining sector has been published to provide mining companies with uniform metrics for reporting their environmental impacts.

The new standard, GRI 14: Mining Sector 2024, covers 25 topics of interest to mining companies, including site-level transparency, emissions, biodiversity impacts and community engagement. The standard also includes three new GRI topics, including tailings management, artisanal and small-scale mining, and operations in conflict areas.

GRI said the standard was published amid stakeholder criticism of the mining sector’s environmental footprint. Although mining is a necessary aspect of many emerging clean energy technologies and currently relies on the development of electric vehicles, mining uses large amounts of water, produces large amounts of emissions, and pollutes surrounding communities. is known.

“From a sustainability perspective, mining is in a complex position, in that it is both part of the solution and the problem,” says Carol, chair of GRI’s Global Sustainability Standards Committee.・Mr. Adams says. “A low-carbon transition cannot be achieved without the key minerals this sector provides. However, mining operations can have serious and detrimental impacts on both nature and people. We need detailed, consistent and globally comparable reporting on material impacts, and this new GRI Standard will deliver that.”

Standards address impact as mining seeks to decarbonise

Currently, mining relies primarily on heavy industrial machinery, most of which is powered by diesel. As more electric and renewable diesel equipment options come to market, the mining industry may have access to a leading solution to reduce its emissions impact.

Some companies are already working to decarbonize their mining fleets.

Metals and mining company Rio Tinto recently announced plans to switch its fleet of 90 transport trucks at its Utah copper plant from fossil fuels to renewable diesel. GM and Komatsu are also currently co-designing a hydrogen-powered electric mining truck. Desalination technology has also emerged as an option for mining companies to reduce freshwater consumption and avoid contamination of local water sources.

Although such technology is not yet widely available, it could enable mining companies to improve supply chain transparency and support operations in terms of land use, safety, community impact, etc.

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