Continuing to improve the efficiency of our operations, reduce energy use and associated costs, and lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are top sustainability priorities for the business. Extreme weather events, which impacted a number of Newmont’s operations in recent years, are a growing risk and demonstrate the need to assess and build resiliency to a changing climate.
Through our global energy and climate strategy – which supports the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) position statement on climate change – we work to fulfill our commitments. The five pillars of our strategy are:
- Supply – Secure stable, reliable, consistent quality and cost-effective electric power and fuel supplies to power Newmont’s operations
- Cost efficiency – Achieve sustainable cost and efficiency improvements
- Collaboration – Collaborate internally and engage externally on energy policies and regulations, energy supplies, challenges and opportunities
- Carbon reduction – Reduce Newmont’s carbon footprint through renewable energy, energy efficiency strategies and carbon offsetting
- Adaptation – Adapt Newmont’s operations and assist local communities to mitigate predictable physical impacts tied to climate change
Our near-term focus is on progressing three key components of the strategy, namely:
- Develop a long-term emission reduction approach – We continue to build our understanding of factors – such as new assets, operating efficiency programs and innovative technologies – to assess GHG reductions that are science-based. We pursue opportunities and technologies that improve efficiencies, reduce energy and emissions, and result in measurable cost savings through supply chain engagement, asset management and our Full Potential program – a global approach focused on continuous business improvement.
- Develop climate adaptation guidance and plans – Several of our regions have experienced extreme weather events related to changing climates, and we must adapt to address impacts to our business, including the potential to affect operations, supply chain, health and availability of our workforce, and supply of water and power. We recognize that further work is required to characterize our current risks and develop specific regional climate plans.
- Apply an internal “shadow” cost of carbon – To manage the financial impacts of an investment’s carbon footprint, we use a shadow cost of carbon – a calculation that acknowledges GHG emissions as a key business factor. This internal pricing mechanism improves our ability to quantify future carbon pricing-related risks associated with the energy and equipment investment decisions we make today. The shadow cost of carbon is included for any investment, contract, merger or acquisition that has a carbon footprint greater than 25,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). The cost – assessed at $50/tonne CO2e – is included in the pre-feasibility stage and carried through until full funding.
Our cross-functional Global Energy and Climate Team (GECT) leads the efforts to implement our strategy. Regional and site energy and climate plans detail our efforts to reduce energy-related costs and GHG emissions, and mitigate risks related to energy security, supply and cost.
Because our total energy consumption and GHG emissions can vary due to factors such as new mines and divested assets, we report both our total emissions and our energy intensity and GHG emissions intensity. We calculate our GHG emissions using the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard and have set a public target to reduce our GHG emissions intensity by 16.5 percent by 2020, measured from our 2013 base year. The 2013 base year and target do not include divested operations and were calculated to reflect our current asset portfolio.
In addition to the disclosures in this report, we measure and annually report our global GHG emissions data to the CDP.
We actively participate in programs to address climate risks, challenges and opportunities in the mining industry as a member of ICMM and through industry groups and initiatives, such as the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), a nonprofit that supports knowledge sharing in improving the energy efficiency of the mining industry. Newmont is also an industry partner in the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association’s Mining Cleantech Challenge, an annual product innovation showcase and competition that connects providers who have, or are developing, clean technology solutions with the mining industry.
As of the end of 2018, we have reduced our GHG emissions intensity by 11.7 percent compared to our 2013 baseline, which is approximately 70 percent of our public target to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 16.5 percent (compared to 2013) by 2020. Completion of the Tanami Power project in Australia is expected to reduce our GHG emissions intensity over the next two years. We also continue to evaluate fuel switching (from coal to natural gas) at our TS Power Plant in Nevada.
|Total emissions (Scope 1 and 2)||4.66||4.68||4.31||4.69||4.69|
|GHG intensity (thousand tonnes of CO₂e per consolidated gold equivalent ounces produced)||0.86||0.81||0.76||0.74||0.78|
Total GHG emissions remained flat (an increase of less than 1 percent) from the prior year. Our Scope 3 GHG emissions (i.e., indirect emissions not included in Scope 2 that occur in our value chain) are calculated using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 3 Evaluator tool and are disclosed in our annual CDP Climate response.
In 2018, our GHG intensity increased by 5 percent to 0.78 tonnes of carbon dioxide per consolidated gold equivalent ounce produced, due to an increase in power production from our TS Power Plant along with a decrease in metals production due to pit slides in Nevada and Australia.
Similar to our GHG emissions, total combined direct and indirect energy consumption was flat compared to the previous year.
During the year, we evaluated reporting against the disclosures the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) published in 2017 by the Financial Stability Board. These voluntary recommended disclosures – which provide investors, regulators, policy makers and other stakeholders information useful to decision making – are discussed in the featured case study. By the end of 2019, Newmont will report to the TCFD recommendations.
Activities to support our global energy and climate strategy and new reporting commitments include the following:
- Started Tanami Power project: We began construction on the Tanami Power project in Australia, which includes a 450-kilometer natural gas pipeline and two power stations. The project provides a consolidated energy solution via reliable, gas-fueled power generation. Switching from diesel fuel to natural gas is expected to reduce both annual energy costs and carbon emissions by approximately 20 percent once operational in 2019. The project reflects input from the traditional owners of the land on which the project resides.
- Installed new solar plant: At our Akyem mine in Ghana, we installed a 120-kilowatt (kW) solar plant that will power the camp and mess hall during daylight hours. It has a 25-year asset life and is re-deployable, so it can be disassembled and moved to another location at closure. Initial data show measurable cost, environmental and social benefits. Over five months, the plant produced more than 75,000 kWh of solar energy, resulting in a reduction of more than 32,000 kg of CO2. The plan is expected to produce energy at half the cost of grid power. We are also negotiating with Ghana’s Volta River Authority on a purchase power agreement for 8 megawatts of solar power. In Nevada, our Phoenix mine installed solar arrays that will generate a total of 10 kW of power for two wireless communications sites. Additional solar projects are under evaluation at Tanami and the Merian mine in Suriname.
- Advanced carbon offset projects: Our forestation projects in Australia and Peru create natural carbon sinks that capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide. Our newest forestry project – the Saddleback Plantation in Australia – was approved and registered under Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund. Over the next four years, around 260,000 pine stems will be planted on uncultivated land, and we are considering expanding the project to include additional acres. Newmont has two other carbon sequestration projects in Australia, and all three projects are managed by CO2 Australia on Newmont’s behalf. During the year, the Australian projects sequestered an estimated 7,229 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (equal to 7,220 Australian Carbon Credit Units), bringing the total amount sequestered since 2012, when Newmont joined the program, to 40,823 metric tonnes. Our Yanacocha operation in Peru has managed forest areas on Yanacocha lands. We continued to survey these lands – which include around 745 hectares that have sequestered an estimated 30,068 tonnes of carbon since operations commenced – and evaluate opportunities to register them as carbon offset credits.
- Initiated work on climate resiliency strategies: During the year, we began working with the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and our Global Energy and Climate Team held a workshop with NCAR experts to identify near- and long-term climate-related risks by site and develop resiliency strategies. Our partnership includes access to NCAR’s online interactive tool, which allows us to select different scenarios specific to regions and/or sites and generate various climate projections.
- Partnered on energy efficiency improvements: We entered into a partnership agreement with the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), which supports efforts to improve energy efficiency in mining operations. Under the agreement, Newmont will continue to share knowledge – such as the report on “Grinding Circuit Practices at Newmont” that documents practical approaches to improve the energy efficiency – and participate in CEEC’s global workshops on sustainable minerals processing methods.
- Improved CDP score: Our assessment grade in the 2018 CDP Climate Change report improved to an “A-”, up from a “B”; in 2017. The score represents a solid management approach and places Newmont in CDP’s “Leadership” category and above average as benchmarked against more than 6,900 other companies that responded to CDP’s 2018 climate questionnaire.