Antofagasta commits to responsible copper standard

Centinela (pictured here) and Zaldívar mines will be the company’s first operations to adhere to the Copper Mark framework. (Image courtesy of Antofagasta Plc.)

Chilean miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) became on Monday the latest copper major to officially commit to producing copper under the Copper Mark, a global standard that aims to hold the industry accountable to sensible practices.

Originally developed by the International Copper Association with input from a broad range of stakeholders, the framework assesses miners against a set of “responsible production criteria” in line with United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

Antofagasta said that Centinela and Zaldívar mines will be the company’s first operations to adhere to the Copper Mark standards.

To be granted the certification, a copper miner must comply with 32 criteria relating to greenhouse gas emissions, safety and health, tailings management, biodiversity, business integrity, gender equality and human rights.

Once a producer obtains the Copper Mark must it be independently assessed every three years to demonstrate continued compliance with all the criteria.

“This external independent review will help us to continue improving our responsible mining practices,” Antofagasta’s vice-president of corporate affairs and sustainability, René Aguilar, said in the statement. “We are working towards becoming leaders of sustainability in our industry and the Copper Mark is a further and important step forward in this journey.”

The London-listed miner, which has four copper operations in Chile, announced earlier this year that it planned to run its Centinela mine solely on renewable energy from 2022 onwards.

Antofagasta had previously signed a deal with Chilean electricity producer Colbún SA to power its Zaldívar copper mine, a 50-50 joint venture with Canada’s Barrick Gold, with renewable energy only.

The company majority-owned by Chile’s Luksic family, one of the country’s wealthiest, had hoped to have Zaldívar fully converted to renewables this year. The global pandemic has delayed the plan.

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