Sustainability in mining: ESG for commercial and community gain

As climate change becomes a global concern, the increasing appetite and rapid pace of the transition to cleaner energy is driving miners to reconsider how a more sustainable operation can be a commercial advantage.

The timing is right. Environment, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) is under the spotlight for companies around the world. Stakeholders from all corners, including shareholders, governments, and the public, have increasing expectations about corporate behaviour.

Even relatively new companies like PAM must find meaningful ways to contribute to ESG. Governance is clearly defined for mining companies – especially listed companies – but environment and sustainability issues are more complex. Greenwashing is increasingly called out, creating a public relations minefield for companies to navigate.

The United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Miners can look to the SDGs as an outline for a sustainable future.

Working with the UN framework, mining companies can track their sustainability initiatives against the relevant goals. In PAM’s case, we focus on seven SDGs, with a primary focus on Quality Education, Gender Equality and Clean Water and Sanitation (SDGs 4, 5 and 6).

Our philosophy is focused on reciprocity. If we help our local communities thrive, we thrive. It’s about keeping a focus on community relationships, since they are ultimately being asked to extend an invitation so we can conduct mining activities near them. It’s more than offering employment; it’s about building communities, from involvement in education and health to supporting businesses which are symbiotic to our activities.

Being an equal-opportunity employer – where gender does not enter employment decisions – is a good first step in meeting the Gender Equality goal. We are developing programs to help women with skills, which has application in both Quality Education and Gender Equality goals. The programs don’t need to be connected to mining activities or employment at PAM – this is something we can do for the greater good of the community.

PAM will capitalise on established best practices for the consumption and production of natural resources and innovate in other ways. For example, in our feasibility studies in Southeast Asia, we’re working to find low-impact solutions that result in inert by-product streams. PAM already has work under way to build a community business marketing non-toxic process tailings for use in construction.

Expanding beyond exploration into midstream processing also helps reduce strain on the environment. Keeping mineral processing close to the extraction site provides opportunity to build the economy and technical skills of the host country. This delivers more local jobs, better outcomes, and a lower carbon footprint.

The reality is mining will always have an environmental impact, so the challenge is to make sure this footprint is useful. Can all mining by-products be used elsewhere over the longer term? Will there be a use for the mining pit when it fills with water? The way PAM conducts its operations should result in positive responses to these questions. Ultimately, we will be targeting low-toxicity processes and complementing our activities with constant rehabilitation programs for the area for the benefit of the local community.

For more information

Get in touch with PAM to explore the PAM Advantage. PAM stands at the forefront of the future of energy and green mobility, strategically positioned in South-East Asia and South America. Join us in advancing the world of advanced lithium projects and be part of the charge towards sustainable energy solutions.

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