What It Means to Be a Good Neighbor

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Minerals Make Life

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What You Need to Know:

  • The energy transition requires technologies that are more minerals-intensive than ever before.
  • Energy-driven mineral demand is soaring, but the U.S. is poorly positioned to meet the world’s need.
  • There is now bipartisan recognition that we must rise to the occasion to build secure, reliable and responsible material supply chains.
  • Our country can unlock significant mineral resources by supporting domestic mining and processing under world-leading environmental standards.

Letter From The President and CEO:

It’s the time of year when spring is in the air and Earth Day celebrations remind us of the importance of sustainability, which the U.S. mining industry has a unique and important role in advancing in the years ahead. Whether it’s lithium and cobalt for electric vehicles or copper and manganese 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. For our country to meet our ambitious climate goals and be on a path to achieving global emissions-reductions targets, it will take more minerals mining. 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.

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 measuring and reducing its carbon footprint through continual investment in and implementation of technology solutions, energy conservation and efficiency programs. Companies like Rio Tinto and Komatsu are working to electrify their mining fleets, with zero-emission haul trucks and Rio Tinto has invested in removing carbon dioxide from the air. 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.

Companies are working diligently to develop innovative ways to help the environment. For example, Energy Fuels and Western Rare Earths are both developing ways to process rare earth elements from materials previously seen as waste products.

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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous mining companies contributed to pandemic relief efforts, providing financial assistance, educational tools and personal protective equipment to those in need. This commitment to giving back 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 areas, farms, public parks, and other uses beneficial to local communities. In recent years, companies like Komatsu, Kinross Alaska and Resolution Copper have established partnerships to restore mine lands.

Going beyond what’s required by law, the industry is supporting the first piece of bipartisan Good Samaritan legislation introduced since 2009 which would enable U.S. mining companies and their conservation partners to help clean up legacy mine sites left prior to modern environmental laws. It’s the type of legislation that’s critical to removing obstacles preventing the remediation of important land and water resources.

The industry is driven by continuous improvement and, as technology advances, the industry will continue to advance sustainable practices across its efforts. Right now, policymakers must join leaders from U.S. automakers and other sectors of the economy in support of American minerals mining. 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.

Click here to learn more about the mining industry and its ESG actions.

Thank you,
Rich Nolan

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