The challenge

Why was the Global Investor Commission on Mining 2030 established?

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Mined resources underpin modern society, and an expansion of extraction capacity is necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. But the good practice that exists in the sector can also be undermined by a series of systemic social and environmental issues that challenge mining today and will challenge its future growth if not adequately addressed.

A key example of this is the increasing scramble by governments and companies to secure the supply chains of transition minerals required to deliver on their net zero commitments. For instance, whether auto manufacturers can meet battery demand for new electric vehicles will depend on minerals required within batteries. Meeting net zero demand, according to one leading market analyst, requires lithium mining to increase production by 880% and graphite by over 900% in the decade from 2020 to 2030.

Even with significantly greater recycling, substitution of key minerals for other minerals and greater efficiency of mineral usage there is no path to net zero without very considerable expansion of mining.

The Commission, comprising multi-stakeholder perspectives is focused on ensuring investors understand the future demand for mining, the systemic issues that may challenge the sector and the steps they can take to support a vision for a socially and environmentally responsible mining sector.

The future of mining

The Commission’s foundational steps seek to draw from the various expert studies that have been published to gain an understanding of the complexities of global supply and demand for mined resources and the circular economy, both now and in the future. It will identify the barriers and systemic challenges facing the mining industry as it seeks to meet demand, together with the potential impacts of doing so.

In parallel, the Commission will identify how investors value, invest and engage with the mining sector and the role they could play in supporting the industry to meet demand in line with the vision to be developed by the Commission. This will include understanding the requirements of investors in assessing the environmental and social performance of mining companies, and a thorough appraisal of the role of standards to drive best practice in the industry. In particular, it will consider efforts by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) and the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative amongst others to consolidate global best practice standards and disclosures.

Additionally, careful thought will be given by the Commission to understand how mining can drive conflict and corruption, and understanding what good practice in responding to and managing conflict looks like and how investors can best support such approaches.

This Commission is supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Cape Town and backed by many of the leading global investors and supported by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Australian Council for Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and advised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

This will not be an easy path but one that, if taken, will ensure mining operates within planetary boundaries, meets the needs of society and the low-carbon transition, and positively contributes to social development and the environment, today and tomorrow.

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