November 3, 2000

Outside data show mining sector still reducing GHG

Independent statistics show that Canada's mining industry has continued to improve its climate change emissions reduction performance, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) reported recently.

The Association cited the latest statistics on energy consumption and greenhouses gas (GHG) emissions issued by the Canadian Industrial Energy End-Use Data and Analysis Centre (CIEEDAC), an independent agency monitoring and reporting on industrial climate change performance. Figures for 1998 (the most recent data available) show energy consumption to be 13.5% below 1990 levels in the combined metal mining (excluding iron ore) and non-ferrous metal smelting and refining sector. Energy use has declined 1.2% since 1997, CIEEDAC figures show.

Additional statistics include a 16.35% reduction in total GHG emissions (both direct and indirect) from 1990 levels, dropping 8.8% from the previous year. This improvement took place even though metal ore production increased between 1997 and 1998.

The mining industry attributes its progress to a substantial decline in both electricity use (which reduced indirect emissions) and fossil fuel consumption (which reduced direct emissions). The MAC cites the non-ferrous metal smelting and refining sector, which has improved its energy efficiency performance by 22.4% during the period 1990-98, while reducing GHG emissions per unit of output by 38.7%. During 2000, the industry's CO2 emissions dropped to 4.4% below 1990 levels, making this one of the few industrial sectors in Canada to have fallen below the 1990 benchmark.

This does not mean the industry can relax, however: the Association says that without more initiatives aimed at continued performance improvement, GHG emissions from the mining and non-ferrous metal smelting/refining sector are projected to increase, although they will still be 5.74% below 1990 levels by 2010. This assumes a modest 1% per year industry growth rate.

As part of its climate change strategy, the MAC recently presented Canadian Mines Ministers a new action guide to help mining companies within and outside Canada address the climate change issue. Strategic Planning and Action on Climate Change-A Guide for Canadian Mining Companies was prepared by the Pembina Institute and Stratos Inc with partial funding support from Natural Resources Canada. The two environmental consulting firms have also agreed to help mining companies set up more advanced GHG emissions monitoring and reporting systems.

In addition to advising on measures to reduce GHG emissions, the MAC guide is intended to help companies achieve business and environmental gains through use of new technologies, reductions in energy use and other actions. It outlines procedures for measuring and monitoring GHG emissions, setting emission control targets, spotting financial signals to encourage emission reductions, and reporting on climate change activities (both internally and to outside interests including governments, shareholders and the general public)

More information is available from Pierre Gratton at the MAC, 613/233-9392, ext 319.

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