As the recognized representative of the European mineral raw materials industry covering more than 42 different metals and minerals and employing 350.000 directly and about four times as many indirectly, Euromines welcomes a European Green Deal to put Europe on the right track to a sustainable future. We also believe that an updated Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change should focus both on prioritizing policy areas and actions where EU interventions can be most effective as well as on assessing how to increase ambitions in a manner that best contributes to sustainable growth and enhances economic competitiveness.
In this context Euromines is prepared to take the necessary steps and bring its value added to a climate-resilient society, fully adapted to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, with reinforced adaptive capacity and minimal vulnerability.
The first segment of most value chains, the raw minerals sector is a supplier of critical materials and products to many sectors of the economy. With regards to climate change adaptation, the European minerals sector secures the availability of essential materials needed for a climate neutral, service and welfare orientated, circular and resource efficient economy. For example, the new infrastructure for alternative energies requires an increased use of metals and minerals, in particular steel for pipelines; copper and graphite for electricity cables, generators and electric motors; aluminium, primarily for electricity cables; and a host of other metals and minerals including phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen for biomass production. Also, solar photovoltaic panels and thermal systems use a combination of up to 22 non-ferrous metals, silicon, chemicals (e.g. organic electrolytes) and a specific type of flat glass.
A continuously changing climate generates a series of risks to mining operations especially because these industries are often located in challenging geographic areas, they rely on fixed assets with very long lifespans, include global integrated supply chains and must deal with environmental and climate sensitive resources. Increased temperatures, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, earthquakes and extreme events have already become stressors with the potential to negatively affect the mining activity.
The European metals and minerals industry is already dedicated to identifying and assessing risks so that disruption and damage arising from acute or chronic effects of climate change are minimized. At the same time, we actively contribute and support all stakeholders along the value chain to:
- improve knowledge of climate impacts (e.g. through increased awareness and better access to knowledge of individual and collective climate risks);
- reinforce planning and climate risk management in the public and private sector (e.g. through risk assessments and helping to close the climate protection gap via risk-transfer mechanisms);
- accelerate action with a focus on solutions (in addition to understanding), on deploying innovation (in addition to research), on implementation (in addition to planning), and on prevention (in addition to ex-post).