Panel 2: Net Zero mining – setting and achieving realistic targets was co-moderated by Lev Gantly, Simmons & Simmons and Ben James, Simmons & Simmons
The panel included:
Elena Haykin, Co-founder and CEO, Climate Governance Initiative (Russia)
Roberto Gonzalez, Principal – Green Economy Climate Action. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Rob Simmons, Investor Relations and Corporate Development, Ferrexpo
Vladmir Zaluzhsky, Head of Communications & IR, Severstal
Daria Grigoreva, Sustainability Director, Polyus
When talking about how climate change is affecting the mining industry, Elena Haykin noted that for the industry in Russia specifically, the transition from plans to action is relatively slow. One of the possible reasons could be the lack of collaboration across industries and countries. Russian miners are largely exporting their products to the international markets where they compete with other exporters such as China where carbon emission is increasing. Cross-border trade regulation is essential for justifying investment in the development of Zero or Low Carbon production.
Daria Grigoreva, agreed that the legislation is very important and it’s not that well developed in Russia. Daria also noted that while many companies announced the transition and have a clear long-term view, it is the immediate future that is not clear to them as well as the material impacts of such a transition.
Vladmir Zaluzhsky echoed the concerns of the previous speakers and offered a view from a steel producer perspective. The steel industry currently contributes to approximately 7% of the global carbon emissions. With the population growth, the demand for steel will be increasing. This creates concerns about growing carbon emissions. The good news is that due to its chemical properties, steel is a 100% renewable material. Severstal is an active member of the Step Up cross-border initiative which is developing new standards and technologies for sustainable steel production. The company is also open to Climate change cross-industry collaboration and has recently signed partnership agreements with Schneider Electric and Air Liquide.
Roberto Gonzalez suggested ways of climate change could be affecting the mining industry:
– Clean energy transitions offer opportunities and challenges for companies that produce minerals. According to the International Energy Agency estimates by 2040, the demand for minerals and metals will change due to the clean energy transition. It is likely to increase for some of the materials. Lithium production is expected to grow by 40 times, cobalt by 30, copper is expected to double.
– Expectations of investors and regulators will change towards the companies (lower-carbon footprint to be prioritised).
– Climate change is already affecting the mining industry and its ability to attract the workforce and introduce sustainable management of supply chains. This will require extensive expenditure.
Rob Simmons stressed that climate change affects all stakeholder groups, he also noted that while there is a lot of discussions around net zero, usually there is very little attention paid to decarbonization which is essential.
The discussion then focused on practical steps of decarbonization of the mining industry and what steps companies are implementing in the next few years to meet the long-term Zero-emission commitment.
Daria Grigoreva suggested that the mining industry is very diverse and that it would not be reasonable to set the same expectations for all the companies without considering companies’ profiles and starting points.
Some of the other questions raised during the discussion included:
– What economically viable decarbonisation options are available to miners?
– What is the industry view of the value of carbon offsets?
– Is net-zero mining technologically achievable today?
– Carbonomics – introducing the Zero Carbon economics in the mining sector.
– Factoring climate change into planning decisions.
– Introduction “climate intelligence” to decision-making processes.
– Challenges of shifting to renewable sources in fossil-fuel-driven economies.
– Introduction of climate risks management solutions in mining.