Develop resources and foster collaboration on operationalizing sustainability, which refers to the process of making sustainability practical, implemented, measurable, technically applied, and integrated throughout operations.


This Working Group aims to develop resources and foster collaboration on operationalizing sustainability, which refers to the process of making sustainability practical, implemented, measurable, technically applied, and integrated throughout operations. This group will focus on addressing a range of topics with a focus on best practices, guidance, strategies, and tools to enable incremental and short-term practical changes that will help to create more sustainable operations.

Industry Need

Many companies have committed to significant sustainability goals (e.g., “net-zero by 2050”) and many initiatives exist already that cover policy, advocacy, corporate social responsibility, and corporate strategy. However, steps also need to be taken now in daily operations to meet long-term goals, and the industry has identified a need to collaboratively address the ways in which sustainability can be operationalized now and in the near future.

The topic of sustainability is a particular challenge within mining due to the cyclical nature of the industry, high equipment costs, lack of clear implementation case studies, perceptions of risk, and reluctance to fund innovation and short payback periods. As regulators and governments also become more aware of environmental and sustainability issues, minimizing our impact will become an important factor in our social license to operate and protecting our future. Strong sustainability practices also have the potential to reduce long-term costs and will help build a positive image for the industry as a whole.

2023 Key Focuses

Climate risks and actions are on top of the corporate agenda and an energy intensive industry like mining is heavily impacted. In addition, the demand for critical minerals and metals to fuel the energy transition means more responsible mining and mineral processing is necessary.

The mining sector needs to collaborate, implement, and invest in a portfolio of decarbonization options for scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The pathways include emissions reduction, switching from fossil fuel to clean fuel, green/clean/renewable/nuclear energy generation, and remove and sequester carbon.

As well, the industry has the opportunity to “do it right” with equitable transition in mind and needs to innovate in adopting new mine design and mineral processing technologies, accelerating novel technology adoption, and demonstrating/tracking results.

We will deliver this workstream in support of the following focus areas:
• addressing and implementing low carbon energy source for electricity and for fuel
• testing and adopting novel/new technology with high impacts (full spectrum of options, such as efficiency, alternative energy, and carbon reduction)
• enabling and supporting relevant carbon capture, storage, and utilization projects
• initiating low carbon mine design and mineral processing opportunities
• carbon data monitoring, tracking, and KPIs
• incorporating holistic approach and equitable transition

In a world that is subject to increasing climate change risks, finite waste disposal areas and decreasing biodiversity values each year, it is critical for the sustainability of the world that we adapt our approach to resources and mining to ensure we are as efficient as possible with the resources we interact with
(inclusive of those that we mine and manufacture, to the ones that we depend on such as water).

Shifting away from the traditional ‘linear’ mindset (take, make, dispose) and towards a more ‘circular’ way of thinking will be a key enabler, and has the potential to create significant value for both the resources sector and the communities and ecosystems that surround our operations.

Broader than just waste management, applying the ‘Circular Economy’ methodology has the ability to promote cross-sector and supply network collaboration, reduce our emissions, increase efficient use of natural resources (energy, water & materials), and most importantly support strengthening of local economies through commercial development and jobs…whilst at the same time reducing our impact on the environment and associated closure liability.

We will deliver this workstream with a focus on:
• sharing case studies and engaging with SMEs to broaden awareness and understanding of CE, and its application within the sector.
• promoting improved cross-section collaboration
• supporting the developing of technologies and initiatives that promote designing out process waste and reducing our water consumption.

From an ESG and investor perspective, there has been increasing recognition of this issue. particularly within the mining and metals sector, which has resulted in rising expectations for businesses to be more transparent in relation to biodiversity risk management and natural capital reporting and importantly, taking collective action to halt and reverse the trend.

This shift in focus has led to the development of the Taskforce for Nature Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) which is aimed at enabling a shift in global financial flow aware from nature negative outcomes towards nature positive outcomes. The framework is expected to be refined through 2022 with an expected ‘go-live’ date on late 2023.

As in industry, there is still a relatively low level of understanding, maturity and consistency in relation to a number of key foundational elements related to biodiversity risk management and natural capital accounting and as such,
it is seen as critical that the working group works to address this knowledge gap and support member companies to strengthen their approach to biodiversity through a focus on:

• understanding and application of the biodiversity
mitigation hierarchy, promoting sharing of case studies
and practical worked examples across our member
• development of support materials in relation to natural
capital accounting and assessment framework, and their
application to the mining and metals sectors – including
potential piloting opportunities.


Operationalizing Sustainability Framework

There are already many existing sustainability frameworks developed by stakeholders across all areas of the mining community, many of which overlap. Across the frameworks, there is diversity in topics addressed, with each framework including different ways to assess how key performance indicators are measured. It isn’t clear what many of the gaps or common challenges are amongst the existing frameworks, or how this working group could be best positioned to address such topics.

This activity aims to collect existing frameworks to determine commonalities, gaps, and common challenges across the mining community, which will then lead to a clearer sense of what the focus and scope of this working group should be. The workflow will be as follows:

  • Collect existing frameworks
  • Review commonalities
  • Gather member input on priorities
  • Define the scope of the working group

Operationalizing Net Zero Guideline Suite

The objective is to develop a suite of guidelines to leverage efforts across the global mining industry towards embedding new practices and technologies in our operations to meet zero emissions targets. Some of the different guidelines proposed include:

  • Battery Lifecycles
  • Choice of Source
  • Holistic Energy Management Across the Site
  • Integration with Community
  • Recycling
  • Tracking and Reporting

Holistic Energy Management Across the Mine Site

This project is the first of the Operationalizing Net-Zero Guidelines Suite. The objective of this project is to develop a guideline taking a holistic approach and looking at all the different aspects of the mine and identifying energy management strategies. The development of the guideline will be a collaborative effort to guide the industry on energy management considerations and how it can support sustainability efforts.

Learn more about the project here.