Climate change local impacts in the mining sector

The effects of climate change and the corresponding local impacts that generates are every day more evident, frequent and detectable in multiple economic sectors. The mining sector, as well as the subsidiary related business activities, are not off the range this global phenomenon that generates local impacts.

The International Council on Mining and Metal presented in 2019 a publication related to the adaptation needs of the global mining sector in relation to the possible local impacts derived from Climate Change. According to the publication Adapting to Climate Change (1), climate variability could generate relevant economic and social impacts to mining operations along its cycle. Longer-term extreme weather events and changes in weather patterns may affect multiple stages of a mine’s life cycle and performance. Relevant damages over mining assets and productive equipment, water resource management, decrease of useful life of key productive infrastructure (tailings, water reservoirs and buildings), supply chain interruptions are examples of most common climate impacts globally identified in the sector.

Consequently, this significant climate threats to which the mining sector is exposed raises an urgent need to implement climate resilient operations to local physical impacts and develop capacities to absorb “climate shocks” when they occur.

Regarding available information on climate change, there are currently multiple estimative future scenarios or climate projections based on assumptions of radiative scenarios that establish different future GHG concentrations in the atmosphere and the human mitigation capacity action. The results of these projections, although they provide relevant information on the evolution of meteorological parameters on a synoptic or global scale, present certain limitations when performing climate impacts assessment over specific locations, such as, for example, mining operations and their area of activity development.

To carry out geolocation and severity assessment of local climate risks, the use of climate downscaling techniques of global climate projections may provide specific datasets that consider local-scale atmospheric phenomena as well as the influence of topography around a mining asset.

METEOSIM actively participates in local climatic risk assessment and key climate indicators definition for mining operations and related assets. The application of dynamic downscaling techniques over the asset’s locations and its subsequent atmospheric basins enables to provide of a more local representative information for mining operations climate-resilient design and adaptation.

(1) Adapting to a Changing Climate: Building resilience in the mining and metals industry (2019) //