Climate to dominate 2021 agenda

MINERS are striving to keep pace with ambitious climate change policy objectives being rolled out by governments around the world, according to natural resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
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Green commodities, including copper, will attract a price premium as the sector realises competition based on emissions intensity

Rebecca Meeson-Frizelle

Global head of multi-commodity research James Whiteside expected progress to be made in decarbonising metals production, as emitters ramped up action on the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement's pledges, such as net-zero emissions by mid-century.
 
Climate change crept up the agenda for the commodities sector in 2020, especially renewables, which have emerged as a power source for mining.
 
Whiteside said the intensifying impetus for low-emission products would continue to drive extractive companies away from fossil-fuel production and use, and toward low-carbon metals and those used in electrification, such as copper, nickel and cobalt, to name a few. This was leading to a price premium for "green" commodities.
 
While the pursuit of economic growth in response to COVID-19 had a crucial bearing on the extent to which emission reduction initiatives were introduced, Whiteside suggested investor pressure prevented metals majors deviating from climate change action.
 
"There is enough momentum behind the initiatives and commitments made by other public and private stakeholders alike to drive the green agenda forward in 2021," he said. Mine-site emissions reduction will be driven by accelerating renewables installations. 
 
Milestones to look out for over the coming year included completion of 3.5GW of renewables projects contracted to mining companies in Chile, and the launch of the first full-power hydrogen fuel cell electric-vehicle mining truck, pioneered by Anglo American.