LONDON (Reuters) - Anglo American on Tuesday announced new goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent, improve energy efficiency by 30 percent and cut freshwater withdrawal by 50 percent in arid regions, all by 2030.
Previous 2020 goals included an energy savings target of 8 percent and a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent, while cutting freshwater withdrawal by 20 percent.
The way the targets are calculated also changes as the previous energy and greenhouse gas goals were calculated versus business as usual, while the 2030 goals seek an improvement in energy efficiency per tonne of copper equivalent mined and an absolute cut in greenhouse gas emissions.
Anglo refers to the new targets as “stretch goals” because of the challenge of meeting them and says they should give it a strategic advantage by cutting costs and making it easier to secure operating licenses as environmental concerns mount.
“The financial benefits to our business by 2030 are expected to be significant, including from substantially reduced energy and water costs,” CEO Mark Cutifani said as he announced the goals to investors in London.
“If you don’t have the trust over all our communities, you just won’t get the access to the ground,” he added.
All the major miners have released a series of sustainability reports and goals, but the industry is still associated with consumption of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, and environmental damage.
Anglo on Monday had to halt iron ore production in Brazil because of a leak and Cutifani said the cause was being investigated.
Cutifani said the miner had reduced its thermal coal business by more than 50 percent over five years, but added governments and communities still depended on the fuel.
“How we transition has to be done in a responsible way,” he said.
Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter