Carolina Schmidt, Minister of Environment: “Mining is a key productive activity for the country, as well as for climate change mitigation and adaptation”

This April 14th, within the framework of Cesco Week Stgo 2021, the seminar “Climate Change: risks and opportunities” will be held, organized in conjunction with The Copper Mark. The meeting will be online and open to the public, and Chile’s highest environmental authority will participate as a panelist to analyze the role of mining -and minerals such as copper- in the context of climate change and the goals of reducing emissions by 2050.

Climate change is a reality. For some time now we have begun to feel its consequences strongly, with rising temperatures around the globe. That is why a large number of countries have opted to seek formulas to lower global temperatures by 1.5°C and 2°C and reduce carbon emissions, as part of the plan to combat climate change by 2050 in the world. Chile is no exception, and has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by that time.

According to the document “Minerals for Climate Action: The Intensive Use of Minerals in the Clean Energy Transition”, prepared by the World Bank, more than 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed. The same report states that the use of certain minerals such as graphite, lithium and cobalt will intensify and will increase 450% by 2050 compared to 2018, while the demand for copper would reach 29 million tons, all in order to boost the use of energies such as solar, wind and geothermal, as well as for energy storage and electromobility.

In this sense, Chile plays, and will play, a fundamental role in meeting this demand. This is due to the fact that it is the largest copper producer in the world -which in 2020 produced 5,732 million tons according to Cochilco- and one of the main players in lithium production, key materials for the development of such technologies.

Mining and climate change

“Mining is a key productive activity for the country, as well as for mitigating and adapting to climate change”, said the Minister of the Environment Carolina Schmidt. The country’s highest environmental authority will be one of the panelists at the seminar “Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities” to be held on April 14, which is organized by Cesco in conjunction with the traceability system The Copper Mark as part of Cesco Week Stgo 2021. “Chile has set itself the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and has established its intermediate emissions reduction target to 2030 in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).”

In her analysis, Minister Schmidt stated that “large copper mining companies, which represent 97% of national copper production, have voluntarily committed to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050″.

But it is not only mitigation that must be considered in order to have a sustainable mining activity,” added the authority. For Schmidt “it is key that these goals are based on what the science asks of us and that they can be monitored and reported with transparency”.

In this sense, the mining industry is facing a growing demand for ore, where demands for traceability and compliance with international standards are becoming increasingly common, both from communities and governments, as well as from investors.

Likewise, the authority emphasized that “we must be concerned about adaptation and reducing vulnerability to climate change”, and explained that as a government they have developed a “Climate Risk Atlas” in order to have information that allows decision-making, in addition to establishing metrics and indicators, and which provides information by sectors regarding the risk associated to the impact on Chile’s economic activities. “We are confident that it will be useful to support decision-making and the definition of indicators to continue driving the changes that are needed in the mining sector,” said Schmidt.

A necessary conversation

The main changes that the industry must implement over the next two decades to support Chile’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and how governments plan to measure and monitor the progress of these processes, are some of the issues that will be discussed during the meeting organized jointly with The Copper Mark, which will be held during Cesco Week.

In addition to Minister Carolina Schmidt, the discussion panel will include the President of BHP Minerals Americas, Ragnar Udd; Tobias Kind-Rieper, Global Lead for Mining & Metals at WWF; and Deb Heed, Purchasing Manager – Human Rights & Working Conditions at Ford Motor Company.

The virtual event, which is open to the public upon registration, will take place from 9:00 a.m. Chilean time on April 14th and will have simultaneous translation.