May 02, 2022
In May 2022, the U.S. General Mining Law will celebrate its 150th...
The U.S. mining industry has a unique and important role in helping with the future energy transition. For our country to meet ambitious climate goals and be on a path to achieving global emissions-reductions targets, it will take more minerals mining. Electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and other advanced energy technologies all rely on minerals. Whether it’s lithium and cobalt for electric vehicles or copper and zinc in solar panels, there isn’t a path to building a more sustainable society that doesn’t involve mining. Unfortunately, the U.S is poorly positioned to provide for this growing need as we remain reliant on foreign sources of minerals that often lack appropriate environmental and safety standards. By increasing domestic mineral production under world-class environmental standards, the U.S. can deliver the materials our electric vehicle and energy supply chains require.
To achieve this, policymakers must join leaders from U.S. automakers and other sectors of the economy in support of American minerals mining. Industry-leading expertise and sustainable approaches combined with the vast resources found in the U.S. can help secure our economic future and ensure the energy transition.
Across the board, the U.S mining industry is advancing environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters, and is continuing to redefine what it means to be a good neighbor.
The minerals mining industry is committed to addressing climate change through the deployment of low-emissions technology. Cutting-edge equipment, services and processes are creating efficiencies and improving safety while reducing the impacts of operations. Companies like Rio Tinto and Komatsu are working to electrify their mining fleets, with zero-emission haul trucks. Rio Tinto has invested in removing carbon dioxide from the air, while others like Energy Fuels and Western Rare Earths are developing ways to process rare earth elements from materials previously seen as waste products. As a testament to the industry’s ambitious plans for carbon reduction, earlier this year, we saw Newmont create the industry’s first sustainability-linked bond that connects its financial and ESG performance.
A key component of U.S. mining is providing value to all stakeholders through social governance – ensuring the safety and wellbeing of local communities where we operate. In recent years, Nevada Gold Mines has been recognized for its philanthropic efforts to develop youth education. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous mining companies contributed to pandemic relief efforts, contributing financial assistance, educational tools and personal protective equipment to those in need. This commitment existed before this crisis and will extend into the future.
At every stage of the mining process, the industry is working to ensure sustainable practices. Before any mining project begins, detailed plans for how land will be restored after use must be approved by government officials. Since 1978, millions of acres of mined lands have been restored for wildlife and wetlands, recreation areas, economic development parks, farms, golf courses, and other uses beneficial to the local community.
Today, companies continue to innovate, utilizing better methods to reclaim mined lands. Through partnerships, Komatsu is projecting to plant 400,000 trees, restore 750 acres of mine lands and create 200 wetlands. Kinross Alaska has partnered with Trout Unlimited to restore Resurrection Creek, and Resolution Copper is helping launch the Emory Oak Collaborative Tribal Restoration Initiative. These are just a few of many examples of how the industry is collaborating to improve the lands we rely on.
As the world makes significant commitments to decarbonize global economies, the U.S. mining industry stands ready to support with sustainably produced raw materials necessary to meet these ambitious goals. The industry is driven by continuous improvement and, as technology advances, the industry will continue to implement new sustainable practices across its efforts.
Click here to learn more about the mining industry and its ESG commitments.