World Gold Council urges sector to cut emissions 80% in effort to meet Paris Agreement

THE World Gold Council (WGC) has urged the gold mining sector to embrace decarbonisation, including switching to renewable electricity generation, in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius global warming target.

Reuters cited the industry organisation as saying that gold sector emissions had to be reduced 80% by 2050. This would align it with the ‘well below’ 2C scenario, or 92% by 2040 to align with a 1.5C scenario outlined in the climate accord.

“Companies need to demonstrate action and awareness of the need to decarbonise their operations at the mine site,” said John Mulligan, director of climate change at the WGC.

Replacing 45% of both grid power and direct fossil fuel-generated electricity would place the industry on track for the 1.5C climate target, the WGC found.

“However, persistent use of coal-fired electricity, either directly or via grid supply, in a few locations, is a potential obstacle to accelerating progress towards climate target alignment,” it said.

The WGC’s report, based on data from 158 gold mines collected by research group Wood Mackenzie on behalf of the WGC, excludes China – the world’s biggest gold producer – due to “lack of available and consistent data.”

The 158 gold mines surveyed together account for about 55% of the world’s large-scale industrial gold production, said Reuters.

The WGC projects gold production will stay more or less flat over the next decade, but energy-intensive mines will be replaced by more energy-efficient ones, helping to curb the sector’s emissions.