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World Gold Council addresses climate change challenges

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022

The latest REQ has reported Australia’s gold mine production is projected to rise at an average of 6.8 per cent a year.

The World Gold Council (WGC) has identified the key physical climate-related vulnerabilities of the gold mining industry and outlined a range of adaptation strategies to support the industry in managing the associated risks.

Its Gold and climate change: Adaptation and resilience report, conducted in collaboration with climate risk and community design specialists at Stantec, summarises the climate change hazards likely to impact gold mining at local and regional levels, and describes current industry response to these impacts, while also suggesting how those responses might be enhanced.

It said gold mines were often located in remote and diverse geographic locations and can have a strategic and pivotal role in local economies. Many communities may be indirectly dependent on a robust and stable gold mining industry for the provision of key capacities, infrastructure, and growth and development opportunities.

By creating sustainable mining operations in the face of climate hazards, the industry can enable greater resilience at the mine site and beyond, potentially reducing the negative economic and social implications for all stakeholders.

WGC climate change lead John Mulligan said the latest research indicated that the gold mining industry had demonstrated substantial awareness of the challenges imposed by physical climate impacts, and had made significant steps to introduce greater resilience at mine sites and in local communities.

“However, these steps will need to accelerate as our collective understanding of climate impacts continues to develop at a rapid rate. Our findings emphasise the opportunity for the sector to share knowledge, identify convergent and consistent methodologies, and define innovative adaptive solutions. Building on the substantial foundations identified in the report, the gold mining sector is ready to extend its capacity for greater future climate resilience,” he said.

This latest report in our climate change series highlights seven recommendations to bring the gold mining industry closer together in its responses to physical climate change risks:

  1. Strive for greater sectoral consistency and knowledge sharing in defining methodologies for assessing climate vulnerability and adaptation
  2. Balance consideration of acute risk with a longer-term view on chronic risks
  3. Incorporate an acknowledgement and understanding of combined compound risks
  4. Integrate community risks into local vulnerability appraisals and resilience plans
  5. Use local and indigenous knowledge of climate change and weather impacts to inform climate risk assessment processes
  6. Share knowledge and resources with local communities, and adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to adaptation planning and designing for climate change resilience
  7. Plan for innovation, using data and technology to produce a more dynamic approach to managing climate-related vulnerabilities and potential physical hazards.
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