In terms of achieving net zero carbon emissions, the largest mining companies in the world have several options – each with merits and demerits – they can explore. Mining companies can either divest, decommission, reduce emissions in existing operations, and/or offset assets that produce high greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
Achieving net zero presents a dilemma because many of the largest miners have made their goal of reaching net zero by offsetting current emissions either through purchasing carbon offsets or investing in solutions that mitigate climate change.
Divesting assets, which is something Anglo American did with their coal assets which they spun off into a pure play standalone coal miner, will decrease a miner’s GHG emissions on a standalone basis. This move simply makes the emissions another person or entity’s challenge. The transfer of assets to third parties increases the risk that those assets may not be de-commissioned promptly or appropriately and will continue to contribute to GHG emissions far into the future.
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