Antofagasta plc announced two new greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets as part of its Climate Change Strategy and its wider commitment to operate sustainably as a leading copper producer. One is to reduce the company’s direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions by 30%, or by 730,000 metric tons (mt) of CO2e by 2025, relative to 2020. The other, longer-term target is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with Chile’s own national target, or earlier if technologies are developed over the coming years that allow this goal to be achieved sooner, according to the company.
In 2018, Antofagasta set the goal to reduce both its Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions by 300,000 mt of CO2e between by 2022, supported by a series of initiatives, including switching to sourcing its power from renewable energy producers rather than conventional sources. The company achieved this target two years early with emissions reduced by more than 580,000 mt of CO2e by the end of 2020.
“Today we are pleased to announce these new targets, which will ensure Antofagasta continues to make important progress on its pledge to protect the environment, while generating sustainable returns for our shareholders,” CEO Iván Arriagada said. “Copper will be a key enabler of a modern low carbon economy and it’s essential we work with all our stakeholders to produce it in a sustainable and responsible way.”
In July 2020, Zaldívar became the first of the group’s mining operations, and the first in Chile, to use 100% renewable energy and by the end of 2020, 19.4% of the mining division’s energy came from renewable sources. Zaldívar will be followed by Antucoya, Centinela and Los Pelambres, and before the end of 2022, it is expected that the entire mining division’s electricity consumption will be supplied exclusively from renewable sources.
In January 2021, Antofagasta became the first mining company in the country to join the Chilean Hydrogen Association (H2 Chile), an organization that promotes the development of green hydrogen. As a fuel, green hydrogen has the potential to become an instrumental factor in reducing carbon emissions from mining companies by replacing the diesel used by truck fleets. According to estimates by the Chilean energy industry, green hydrogen solutions could begin to be implemented as early as the end of this decade.