Over 20% of world mined copper now comes from sustainable operations

More than 20% of the world’s mined copper production now comes from sites that carry out responsible, sustainable mining practices, Copper Mark, the organism that awards such certifications, said on Tuesday.

The figure was reached after five new sites, including Antofagasta’s Antucoya mine and Southern Peaks Mining’s Compañia Minera Condestable, joined the framework.  

The other new members are Capstone Copper’s Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde mines and Aurubis’ Olen NV site, which brings the total number of participating sites to 42, Copper Mark said.

“Copper is essential to a low-carbon future, and so it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we supply this critical natural resource in as sustainable a manner as possible,” said John MacKenzie, CEO of Capstone Copper.

Miners across the globe are increasingly looking to prove their sustainability credentials as buyers and investors pay attention to the impact of products on the environment.

Awarded of the change, the copper industry created in 2020 Copper Mark, a voluntary framework to promote responsible production practices and demonstrate commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

To receive certification, each mine site must meet 32​​ sustainability criteria relating to issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, health and safety, tailings management, biodiversity, business integrity, gender equality and human rights.

Evaluations are then carried out every three years.

“The new commitments are indicative of a wider trend we are seeing from copper producers and customers who are increasingly recognising the importance of developing more responsible production practices,” Michele Brülhart, executive director of the Copper Mark, said in the statement. “We expect this trend to continue to grow as part of the shift towards creating a greener economy.”

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