BHP Billiton’s GHG emissions rise due to Mozal hydropower interruptions

Mining giant BHP Billiton's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have risen by 6.5 million tonnes (Mt) in 2013, largely due to increases across the company's aluminium and onshore US operations.

According to the company’s 2013 sustainability report, maintenance downtime due to torrential rain caused supply interruptions of hydropower to its Mozal aluminium smelter in Mozambique.

This resulted in an increase of 3.6 Mt of GHG emissions as the operation switched to a coal-fired power supply.

In addition, continued development of the onshore US unconventional oil and gas operations increased emissions by 1.6 Mt.

In 2013, BHP Billiton’s joint scope 1 and 2 emissions reached 46.7 million tonnes, an increase from 40.2 million tonnes in 2012.

The company also revealed that of the assets that committed to implementing reduction projects in full year 2013, 64% did not achieve the commitments due to “resource and other constraints”.

However, despite the increase in GHG emissions BHP Billiton remains in-line with its 2017 target, which is to keep emissions lower than its 2006 baseline.

This was partially offset by three of BHP’s copper assets exceeding their GHG reduction targets this year.

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mckenzie said: “As a global organisation, we seek to understand the risks and opportunities related to climate change and how these affect our operations. We are continually working to reduce GHG emissions and improve energy management across our operations.

“In full year 2013, our GHG emissions were lower than the full year 2006 baseline, which keeps us in line to achieve our target of maintaining our future full year 2017 greenhouse gas emissions below full year 2006 levels,” he added.

Leigh Stringer

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