Climate Change Services for the Mining Sector


Ms Rachel Wyles, Mr Sean Capstick

The effects of climate change are being felt globally, with increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns that are significantly affecting the hydrological system, including more frequent heavy precipitation events resulting in a greater risk of flooding or periods of drought that could affect water necessary for operations. Any risks identified under current climate conditions is potentially more vulnerable under future climate conditions. It is important to both understand the current climate and how it has been changing, as well as how the future climate is projected to change under different time horizons and scenarios (i.e. radiative forcing of greenhouse gas emissions) for a given region. Projected changes in climate, along with their uncertainty, present physical, reputational and economic risks to the mining sector. Mines are typically located in challenging geographies with extreme weather, rely on infrastructure with long lifetimes, create by-products that must be managed in perpetuity, rely on climate-sensitive water and energy resources, and involve global supply chains. As a result, mining companies need to address these risks and that the status quo of solely relying on stationary design criteria based on historical information, including that provided by government agencies, is no longer acceptable. A scalable approach based on what stage of planning, design, operation and closure in the mine life cycle is required. This presentation will outline industry best practices for this assessment.