Newmont to invest $500M on climate goals
Sows seed money toward goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 Metal Tech News – December 16, 2020
Last updated 12/22/2020 at 3:54pm
Newmont Corp. is investing $500 million over the next five years toward the ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030, another step toward the ultimate objective of transforming to a carbon neutral gold mining company by 2050.
"We fundamentally understand the human contribution to climate change and understand we reap what we sow. It is our responsibility to take care of the resources provided to us," said Newmont President and CEO Tom Palmer.
For a global mining company like Newmont to achieve carbon neutrality will be no small task and the investment announced on Dec. 8 will likely be seed money toward this three-decade objective.
From the enormous equipment needed to dig up and transport ore, to the massive mills and other machinery used to process that ore and recover the metals, mining is an extremely energy intensive business.
With carbon-based fuels generating roughly 88% of the energy Newmont uses for mining and milling, the world's largest gold mining company will need to make large investments in equipment and efficiencies to achieve its net-zero carbon emissions objective in just three decades. This begins with a half-a-billion-dollar initial investment.
"At Newmont, we take our climate change commitment seriously and make them because our relationship with the planet is absolute," Palmer informed investors and analysts on Dec. 9. "We want a world that is not just sustainable but thriving for generations to come. As a demonstration of that commitment, we will direct $500 million towards climate change initiatives over the next five years."
While this investment demonstrates Newmont is serious about doing its part to combat climate change, the goals introduced by the Colorado-based mining company build upon a previous established target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16.5% over a five-year span that ends in 2020.
As of the end of 2019, Newmont was 83% of the way to this initial target, lowering its greenhouse gas emissions by 13.7% compared to 2013, which served as the baseline for its climate goals.
The next major goal is a further 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decade.
To reach this goal, the company is expected to invest heavily into the electrification of its mining fleet and renewable energy generation to plug its mines into.
"These funds will be focused on investment in renewable energy and micro-grid energy storage projects as well as piloting new technologies," Palmer said.
In addition to being good for the planet, in many cases the emissions reducing technologies implemented will make the mining process more efficient, which will help recoup some of the invested funds.
The company especially expects to see improved efficiencies from electrifying its underground mining operations. In addition to the obvious elimination of a greenhouse gas emitting source point, electric underground equipment will eliminate the heat and fumes from diesel fueled equipment, which reduces the ventilation requirements and the power usage.
Palmer said the electrification of an underground mine ultimately "makes it a quieter, cleaner and more healthier working environment."
The Newmont CEO indicates that the gold mining company will be transitioning to more underground operations as the company works to make its global gold mines more sustainable and efficient.
"Our clear strategy lays the groundwork to truly differentiate Newmont as the world's leading gold company as we work to continue to demonstrate our commitment to our purpose of creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining," Palmer said.