Yamana Gold commits to 1.5ºC GHG targets

By Dominic Ellis
Yamana Gold states the 1.5ºC scenario is "the gold standard target" to demonstrate commitment to a low-carbon future

Yamana Gold has committed to the 1.5ºC greenhouse gas abatement targets and is on track to produce approximately 85% of its gold equivalent ounces with renewable energy by the end of 2022.

However it acknowledges annual emissions reduction of approximately 4.2% will be required until 2030 to meet a 1.5ºC temperature scenario - although it believes it will be able to meet the targets with "a modest, almost incremental" amount of investment.

The 1.5ºC scenario has become "the gold standard target" to demonstrate commitment to a low-carbon future, it said in a statement.

A newly-signed power purchase agreement at Minera Florida, scheduled to become effective in 2022, will provide 100% renewable electricity over the next five years. When coupled with similar agreements at Jacobina and El Peñon, approximately 85% of the Company’s GEO will be produced with renewable energy by the end of next year.

This month is received the permit at its Jacobina mine to increase throughput to 10,000 tonnes per day, and it is expected to reach 8,500 tpd by the second quarter of 2022. At this processing rate, production at Jacobina will increase through the second half of 2022 with a full year at a production level of 230,000 ounces per year beginning in 2023.

The company is also reporting particularly strong operating performance from El Peñón and Cerro Moro, both of which were planned to have higher production in the last several months of the year as they sequenced into higher grade zones, all of which supports previous guidance that Q4 production will exceed 270,000 GEO and annual production will exceed overall 2021 guidance of 1,000,000 GEO.

Yamana is evaluating opportunities to further reduce its GHG emissions by investing in battery-electric vehicles, automation and other emerging technologies. The company’s near-term growth in both Quebec and Brazil will leverage electrical grids that have a high proportion of green, renewable energy. Hydroelectric and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy constituted more than 99.9% of the Quebec grid energy in 2020.

In 2022, Yamana Gold will continue to refine its analysis and transition to a more operations-focused approach as it continues work to identify and assess additional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, and begin to define its Scope 3 GHG emissions, including those from its 50% owned Canadian Malartic Mine. 

Mining is currently responsible for 4-7% of GHG emissions globally, generating between 1.9-5.1GT of CO2 equivalent of GHG emissions annually. 

Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions from the sector (those incurred through mining operations and power consumption, respectively) amount to 1%, and fugitive-methane emissions from coal mining are estimated at 3-6%, according to McKinsey.

To improve resiliency, companies can reduce the water intensity of their mining processes, and recycle used water and reduce water loss from evaporation, leaks, and waste. 

While action on climate change is growing in the industry, as companies review commodity portfolios, set targets, and engage with stakeholders, these actions are "too modest" to reach the 1.5°C to 2.0°C scenario and may not be keeping up with society’s expectations, McKinsey warns.

"Mining companies concerned about their long-term reputation, license to operate, or contribution to decarbonisation efforts may start to consider more aggressive decarbonisation and resilience plans," it concludes.


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