BHP’s Chilean operations Escondida and Spence, and Olympic Dam in Australia, have been awarded the Copper Mark recognising responsible production practices after an independent assurance process.
The Copper Mark is an assurance framework specific to the copper industry, developed to ensure that value chain participants demonstrate best practice in responsible production and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Copper Mark is a voluntary program that independently assesses participants in 32 critical areas including environment, community, human rights and governance issues for mining, smelting and refining operations.
The Copper Mark uses the Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) and the Joint Due Diligence Standard for Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc, as the basis for evaluating participants’ performance.
BHP submitted Letters of Commitment for Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam to the Copper Mark Responsible Production Framework on 31 October 2020. The Copper Mark was awarded to Olympic Dam on 21 September 2021, while Spence and Escondida were each awarded theirs on 2 November 2021.
BHP’s Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers, said: “Long-term sustainability credentials are important to our customers and increasingly important to end consumers of copper products, such as buyers of electric vehicles and copper intensive consumer durables.”
BHP’s Mineral Americas President, Rag Udd, said: “Copper Mark is a step forward in developing an industry-wide approach to transparency and standards for the copper value chain and reinforces the value BHP places on responsible, sustainable production.
“Copper is a future-facing commodity and our operations have an important role to play in providing high quality and sustainable copper that is essential to the energy transition. Escondida, the largest copper producer in the world, operates 100% with desalinated water and, along with Spence, is aiming to achieve 100 per cent renewable power by the mid-2020s.
It is important to our customers, investors, employees, communities and governments to ascertain the ethical and sustainable production of copper along the value chain,” he added.
“These commitments and action on sustainability will be a competitive advantage for copper, for Chile and for our customers. We have set a target to reduce our operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent from FY2020 levels by FY2030 and BHP recently announced a goal to pursue net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050,” Mr Udd said.
“We are thrilled that Olympic Dam is the first site in Australia to be awarded the Copper Mark,” BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie, said.
“Olympic Dam is a multi-generational ore body and one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, silver and uranium. The Copper Mark accreditation provides an industry-wide approach to transparency and sustainability in the copper value chain and provides our customers with confidence in the copper they purchase. Award of the Copper Mark will help us to keep sustainably delivering jobs, investment and economic and social value,” Ms Purdie added.
The Copper Mark’s Executive Director, Michèle Brülhart, said: “We are delighted to welcome Escondida, Spence and Olympic Dam among the recipients of the Copper Mark. We are particularly pleased to see the first Australian site to receive the Copper Mark with Olympic Dam while we continue to grow our footprint in the world’s main copper producing country, Chile. We congratulate the three sites for their achievement and their commitment to responsible production practices.”