Newmont Mining Corporation Works To Become More Environmentally Friendly

(3BL/JustMeans) Mining is an industry that uses much water and energy. One mining company is doing what it can to become more environmentally friendly. That company is Newmont Mining Corporation, which has active gold mines in Australia, Peru, Suriname, Ghana and the U.S.

Newmont developed an internal pricing mechanism in 2016 to help them understand both the cost of GHG emissions and the impact of adopting low-carbon energy alternatives for their operations. The internal pricing mechanism is also called a shadow cost of carbon and it estimates the future costs of an investments GHG emissions based on regulatory regimes in a country. Newmont will pilot the cost of carbon mechanism in 2017 for its Long Canyon Phase 2 project in Nevada, Yanacocha alternative energy study in Peru and the Tanami power study in Australia. The price of carbon for the pilots will be analyzed at $25 and $50 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

Newmont is working to reduce its emissions, waste and energy and water use. Its total GHG emissions decreased 22 percent from 2015 to 2016, while its total energy use decreased 23 percent in 2016. Its total sulfur oxide emissions decreased by 99.7 percent and its total mercury emissions by 83.3 percent.

The company’s waste rock and tailings in 2016 decreased by 1.2 percent and 28.8 percent while its annual consolidated gold production increased by 4.2 percent. The same year, it recycled 4,549 tons of hazardous waste and 21,234 tons of non-hazardous waste, including 4,733 tons of used oil. In 2015, the company installed non-hazardous waste compactors at its La Quinua waste management facility in Peru, which ships waste 600 miles away to Lima. The facility saved about $320,000 in shipping costs and fuel savings in 2016.

Newmont’s total energy use decreased 23 percent in 2016, while use of energy generated from coal decreased 46 percent. Its energy intensity has decreased by 36 percent since 2013. From 2015 to 2016, energy intensity decreased by 5.6 percent. It conducted and finished studies on renewable and clean energy options, including solar photovoltaic in Ghana and micro-hydro in Peru, while continuing to study solar technologies at Tanami in Australia.

The total water used, withdrawn minus total discharged, decreased 21 percent while total water withdrawn decreased 60 percent in 2016. Newmont attributes the decrease to its divestiture of the Batu Hijau operation in Indonesia. It recycles and reuses water, and its amount of recycled and reused water increased to 68 percent of its total water use compared to 59 percent a year ago. The addition of the Cripple Creek and Victor operation is one of the drivers of the increase as it has a recycled water rate of 94 percent, one of the highest of the company’s operations.

Newmont’s efforts prove that a mining company can become more environmentally friendly while maintaining production.

Photo: Newmont Mining Corporation