Collaboration drives success for Anglo American
One of the world's largest mining companies has released its 2014 sustainability report, revealing large drops in energy use, water consumption and emissions.
Anglo American attributed its success to collaboration with key stakeholders, including Governments, NGO's and other industry competitors.
Chairman Sir John Parker said: "One of the greatest challenges facing Anglo American, and the mining industry as a whole, is reconciling the different views and concerns of our stakeholders about how mining should be conducted.
"At Anglo American, we believe the solution lies in forging the effective partnerships we need to build safe, sustainable businesses and ensure long-term shareholder value.
"Our sustainability performance is critical to our ability to drive value for all of our stakeholders - we simply will not be able to make progress unless we can take our key constituencies along with us on of our journey. We must all be in this together."
The report stated that climate change poses a significant business challenge for Anglo American, which employs more than 150,000 wordwide. "Energy and policy-associated costs are rising, consumer demand for products is changing, and the threat of the physical impact of climate change on operations and host communities is escalating," the report reads.
This threat was met with an appropiate response in 2014, as Anglo American saw energy savings of 4.3 million GJ - equivalent to a 5% reduction against projected energy consumption, resulting in a $105m saving on energy bills.
Energy reduction in operations is being primarily achieved through fuel efficiency, mine ventilation and pumping optimisation. The future cost of energy is also taken into account in procurement decisions.
Similarly, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4.2 million tonnes – a 22% saving over projections. According to the report, the saving was driven "largely through our Australian Coal business's management of underground methane, which prevents 3.7 million tonnes of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere each year."
With more than 70% of Anglo American mines located in water-stressed areas, the firm has established an advanced water strategy, achieving an estimated 16% saving against projected water usage last year. Total water consumption decreased from 201 million cubic metres in 2013 to 195 million cubic metres in 2014.
This reduction was primarily achieved through higher levels of water recycling at the Los Bronces copper mine in Chile, a new $100m desalination plant also in Chile, and other savings achieved through the implementation of the Water Efficiency Target Tool (WETT) programme.
Of total operational water requirements, 69% were met by recycling/re-using water.
Video: Water use at Anglo American
In his foreword, Anglo American chairman Sir John Parker also addressed the impact of coal – a key source of revenue for the firm – on climate change. He said: "Irrefutably, the world needs coal; and for some developing nations it is the key to fast-tracking their economies as they attempt to catch up with more industrialised nations.
"No one would deny, however, that burning of coal has to become much cleaner. As the chairman of a global mining company that is one of the world's major coal producers, I believe coal has an important part to play in the energy mix, provided it can clean up its act – and that the coal industry is given a realistic timeframe by governments in which to do so."
China is one of the global pioneers in clean coal technology, using CCS to reduce the harmful emissions being pumped into the atmosphere.
The Anglo American sustainability report can be found in the tweet below: