Energy & Climate Change

Reducing the carbon footprint – towards carbon neutrality in the extraction of metals and minerals

Raw materials are indispensable enablers for carbon-neutral solutions in all sectors of the economy. Given the scale of fast growing material demand, primary raw materials will continue to provide a large part of the demand. (A Clean Planet for All, European Commission, November 2018).

As the world shifts to a low-carbon future, mining companies explore methods of decarbonisation in order to efficiently and effectively fulfil the continued increasing demand for resources. Raw Materials will be critical to building a future sustainable society that will rely heavily on new transport infrastructure as well as new green buildings. Alternative energy production will require considerable amounts of raw materials. For example, the infrastructure of the energy sector requires the massive use of metals and minerals, in particular steel for ships, pipelines, mining equipment, power plants, refineries and exploration activities, copper for the electricity grid, generators and electric motors, and aluminium, primarily for the electricity grid, and a host of other metals and minerals including phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen for biomass production.

 

The Emissions Trading System (phase IV: 2021 – 2030)

The EU ETS operates in 31 countries and covers 11.000 instalations, which account for about 45% of the European emissions. The ETS is designed to reduce covered emissions in a cost-effective way by providing a price signal for carbon to the market. Since its initiation in 2005, the system has gone through different phases. The next phase, ranging form 2021 to 2030, aims to reduce covered emissions by 43% compared to 2005.

Euromines welcomes the European Union commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% domestically by 2030 and is prepared to take all necessary measures to reach this objective. The list of ETS elements essential for the extractive industry in achieving this objective includes:

  • The whole design of the EU ETS should not undermine the competitiveness of industry, in particular the energy-intensive sectors that are most vulnerable to unilateral carbon and energy cost increases;
  • Free allocation at European level should continue to be the key tool for sectors exposed to carbon leakage alongside with financial compensation for CO2 costs and electricity prices (electricity represents a substantial share of the mining industry operating expenses), as long as a global commitment to price carbon is not reached;
  • The post 2020 rules on free allocation and financial compensation for indirect costs should be clear, predictable and effective to ensure the competitiveness of the European industry;
  • Alternative measures such as separate policy regimes for industrial and power generation sectors and the inclusion of imports in EU ETS should be analysed and further explored;
  • Post 2020 legislation implementing the 2030 package should avoid overlapping with other legislation in particular in the field of renewables and energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency

Euromines welcomes the Commission’s proposal aiming to promote energy efficiency within the European Union and it is our strong conviction that one of the main purposes of the energy efficiency directive should be to ensure an integrated approach to consistency, stability and predictability along the whole value chain by taking into consideration the following aspects:

  • An accurate definition and an appropriate methodology for evaluating “energy efficiency”
  • The overall energy efficiency rate along the value chain
  • The physical and chemical characteristics of each product
  • Local and regional characteristics
  • The EU energy policy mix
  • Investments in technology aiming at increasing energy efficiency