As the world transitions to a greener economy and demand for energy metals continues to grow, First Quantum Minerals has revealed how it is harnessing innovation to keep Zambia at the forefront of responsible mining practices.
FQM Chief Executive Officer Tristan Pascall has said that despite the company facing numerous challenges in 2022, the mining firm remained focused on executing projects that will deliver production growth with a lower carbon footprint.
Speaking as the mining firm released its seventh Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which sets out its sustainability performance, he explained that First Quantum remained committed to extracting resources responsibly and operating in the most responsible manner achievable with sustainability at the core of everything it does.
“At First Quantum, we are proud of the contribution that mining makes to our communities and society,” commented Mr Pascall.
Innovation in mining is integral to First Quantum’s Sustainability agenda, highlighted by large-scale projects such as early stage plans for a 430 MW wind and solar project in Zambia, and feasibility trials with Hitachi Construction Machinery for the first full battery, rigid frame dump trucks at Kansanshi mine.
The report revealed that a number of infrastructure investments and energy savings initiatives have been implemented at FQM’s Zambian operations in recent years, including trolley assist electric mining fleets combined with in-pit crushing and conveying, and that the savings provide further evidence of the company’s commitment to continual improvement and resource optimisation.
“Mining has a fundamental role to play in providing the metals that are integral to the world’s decarbonisation commitments. We embrace the role that we have to play as a responsible miner in delivering these metals through socially responsible and environmentally sensitive production,” he added.
The mining firm believes that with copper being a catalyst for the global transition to a low-carbon economy and a key driver for the socioeconomic progression of developing economies, the positive impact of the copper mining sector will be significant to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
“Many mines export copper concentrate to smelters which generate emissions from both land and sea freight. These smelters are also often powered by gas or coal power.
“First Quantum’s Zambian smelter processes copper concentrate produced locally by our Kansanshi and Sentinel mines. Our smelter is powered by predominantly hydroelectric power. The local refinement of our copper concentrate at our smelter, therefore, reduces emissions associated with both transportation and refining,” it continued.
The report further said that the overall decrease in sulphur dioxide emissions was driven by First Quantum’s Kansanshi operations and efforts to increase sulphur dioxide capture.
“ESG has always been integrated into First Quantum’s operating model. We seek to drive real change by providing metals vital to the transition to a low-carbon economy and for socioeconomic development. By leveraging innovation to drive sustainability, operational efficiencies, and cost savings we aim to change the status quo at our operations and continually improve,” said the report.
First Quantum is of the view that the renewable energy and electric vehicle transition will drive demand for copper as electrical infrastructure grows to meet demand from global energy markets.
“The current high cost of energy has highlighted the importance of energy security and emphasised the importance of the energy transition. The metals that we mine are fundamental to this. Without more copper and nickel, the world won’t be able to achieve the increased use of renewable power and electric vehicles that are required for global decarbonisation. New projects will ultimately be required,” said Mr Pascall.
Source: LANGMEAD & BAKER