Newmont unveils first climate strategy

Newmont has unveiled its first climate strategy and revealed the global COVID-19 pandemic thwarted the miner from achieving its first public climate target, which was set in 2016.

 Newmont’s Tanami gold operation in Australia’s Northern Territory

Newmont’s Tanami gold operation in Australia’s Northern Territory

The global gold major said in the report it had not met its first public climate target, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 16.5% by 2020, as measured from its 2013 base year.

It said it had been on track to meet the target at the end of 2019 after it reduced GHG emissions intensity by 13.7%.

"However, lower production in 2020, due to placing some sites in care and maintenance during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, was the largest contributor to not achieving our target," Newmont said.

"As a result, compared to the 2013 baseline, we reduced our GHG emissions intensity by 13.9%.

"Although factors outside of our control, like the global pandemic, can impact our GHG intensity performance, it remains an important metric for measuring our performance and evaluating business decisions."

Newmont developed three scenarios for the climate strategy released yesterday, namely business as usual, planned energy transition during the 2020s, and delayed response to post-2030.

Newmont said the second option produced "the best financial outcomes for Newmont, key stakeholders and society, reflects the best business case, and aligns the interests of the business with those of the broader society."

It said it was one of only two gold mining companies globally and one of 12 companies on the S&P 500 to have climate targets approved by the Science Based Target initiative.

To meet SBTi's criteria in line with climate science, Newmont said its 2030 targets were set at 32% reduction for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and 30% reduction for Scope 3 emissions, supporting the Paris Agreement.

The miner said its climate targets, as it aims to carbon neutral by 2050, were supported by its carbon reduction fund, with $500 million committed in 2020.

"It is our firm belief that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and that Newmont must be a catalyst for change," president and CEO Tom Palmer said.

"Today we send a clear signal that Newmont has moved beyond managing climate change as a sustainability issue to incorporating these risks and opportunities into our business strategy and business planning process."

In the report, Newmont said it would this year evaluate its various industry association memberships, whether the bodies aligned with its climate commitment - "and assess the benefits and trade-offs of continued membership".

The company's priciest membership listed in 2020 was the US$920,310 fee to be part of the Minerals Council of Australia.

Newmont's market capitalisation is more than $50 billion.

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