Climate Action Plan

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About the Minerals Council of Australia

The MCA is the leading advocate for Australia's world class minerals industry, promoting and enhancing sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable and valued by all Australians. Read more.

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Sustained climate action across all nations is required to reduce the risks of human-induced climate change and to support world-wide decarbonisation as we transform to a lower emissions future.

Our sector improves the lives of millions of people in Australia and overseas through the responsible mining of minerals that are essential for everyday life.

This is a global undertaking of major technological, economic and social challenge in which Australia and the minerals sector must play their part.

To achieve an ambition of net zero emissions in Australia, and reflecting the importance of rapid action, requires a stable national policy framework that includes:

  1. Substantially increased research, development and investment in technologies and processes to reduce mine site emissions
  2. Widespread deployment of low and zero emission technologies including consideration of all technologies
  3. Credible, verified low cost abatement options, including domestic and international offsets
  4. Accelerated development of the minerals required for a low emissions future including aluminium, copper, nickel, zinc, iron, uranium, base metals, lithium, minerals sands, and rare earths
  5. Global and domestic partnerships with governments, regulators, customers, technology developers, universities, NGOs and other relevant groups to drive new technologies that cost-effectively reduce emissions
  6. Policies that foster continued economic growth and investor confidence in Australia.

The scale of the technology-led transformation required cannot occur without the minerals and raw materials provided by the Australian mining sector.

Our sector is already making major investments to significantly reduce emissions such as renewable energy investments at mine sites and collaborations with partners on low emissions technologies and processes.

Australia’s ability to successfully adapt to climate change will rely on a strong economy including a strong and internationally competitive Australian mining industry.

Our sector will continue to deliver the raw materials and contribute to the new technologies which will underpin necessary resilient infrastructure and act on new opportunities that will drive lower emissions for the minerals industry. The MCA and all of its members are taking serious action on climate change and are committed to the Paris Agreement and its goal of net zero emissions.

This 2020-2023 plan furthers the minerals sector’s public commitment to addressing climate change on an ongoing basis consistent with the MCA’s climate statement. It outlines a series of actions focused on three key themes:

  1. Support developing technology pathways to achieve significant reductions in Australia’s greenhouse emissions
  2. Increased transparency on climate change related reporting and informed advocacy
  3. Knowledge sharing of the sector’s responses to addressing climate change.

This plan will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains consistent with Australia’s climate policy ambitions in support of the Paris Agreement. With this plan, the sector acknowledges the critical importance of technology in reducing emissions. It lays the groundwork for the Australian minerals sector to share its knowledge and support emission reductions within the sector.

The minerals industry has already taken a strong proactive approach on research, development and deployment of technology applications across our businesses. Major opportunities exist in pursuing decarbonisation including through operational efficiencies, abatement, developing and deploying low emissions technologies including renewables, hydrogen, proven, safe and reliable Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and advanced nuclear solutions, as well as digitisation, automation, and electrification.

The sector will support the development of cleaner energy options through the development of critical minerals to enable their application as well as taking a lead on commodity stewardship looking at global procurement practices, circular economy, and traceability of commodities through their lifecycle.

Practical and cost-effective options are already being developed and put into action across the minerals value chain.

The sector will play its part so that Australia’s minerals can be sustainably mined, refined and consumed to support more sustainable economic growth and social progress in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the global climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

This Climate Action Plan is part of the ongoing commitment of Australian minerals companies to environmentally sustainable and responsible mining and processing.


Climate Action Plan - Progress Report

Australia’s minerals sector is playing its part in addressing climate change, with the first progress report on the MCA’s Climate Action Plan showing the industry has hit the ground running with emissions reductions in Year 1 and significant annual emissions reductions potential of 30 per cent through initiatives underway.

The progress report details the status of measures developed in the Climate Action Plan launched in June 2020 and the progress made to date, drawing on publicly-reported emissions data and a survey of full MCA members reporting to federal compliance schemes.

While all MCA members are committed to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, well over three quarters of surveyed members’ FY2020 emissions are covered by companies committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. A similar proportion is working towards aligning corporate reporting with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD), which is supported by the MCA and aims to improve and increase company reporting of climate-related financial information.

A more sustainable minerals sector is not only important in providing the prosperity crucial to Australia’s post-COVID recovery, it is also helping to sustain and improve the lives of millions around the world.

Australian mining is essential in providing the critical raw materials which are necessary for modern and emerging economies to flourish in a decarbonised future.

The progress report highlights 12 case studies on how the industry is taking practical climate action, including the rollout of renewables, carbon capture and storage development, methane capture and conversion, electric and autonomous vehicles investments, battery storage and hydrogen trials and exploration efficiencies. Examples include:

  • Newcrest contracting for more than 40 per cent of its Cadia mine’s projected energy demand from 2024 with wind energy providers
  • Newmont’s US$500 million investment in climate change initiatives
  • BHP’s deal for renewable energy supply aimed at halving emissions from its QLD coal mine energy use
  • Rio Tinto’s deployment of solar PV and battery storage at Gudai-Darri in WA estimated to reduce emissions by 90,000 tonnes per year
  • Kirkland Lake Gold investing US$75 million each year for the next five years in environmental technology centres aimed at further reducing its carbon footprint through technology and innovation
  • Methane captured at Anglo American’s Moranbah North, Grosvenor and Capcoal underground metallurgical coal mines being used by nearby power stations to generate more than 140 MW of electricity per annum, or enough to power 90,000 homes
  • AngloGold Ashanti upgrading its current diesel haul fleet at its Tropicana gold mine by trialling a fleet of six new electric haul trucks to reduce diesel consumption.

The progress report shows the industry is committed to developing the technologies and processes necessary for decarbonisation and identifying the necessary investments and pathways to reduce emissions.

The report was released during Minerals Week, the MCA’s annual opportunity to engage with decision makers in Canberra. The three-day event provides a high-profile platform for the executive leadership of Australian mining to discuss, debate and develop the policies that create jobs, support investment and sustain the wellbeing of mining communities and the national economy.