Chilean copper giant Codelco issues plan to reduce carbon emissions by 70%

Chile’s Codelco has released an ambitious set of sustainability plans for its operations and projects, which includes goals to cut carbon emissions by 70% and reduce inland water consumption by 60% by 2030.

The plan, centred around five key areas, aims to reduce around three quarters of the company’s carbon emissions by creating what it calls a ‘100% clean energy matrix’. This will see Codelco replace all underground production equipment with electric vehicles and machinery.

The world’s biggest copper producer will also search for new clean energy sources, such as hydrogen, as part of the plans.

Perhaps most significant is Codelco’s pledge to reduce water consumption by more than half. The company’s expansion plans have been threatened by complaints from environmentalists of it depleting water supplies from the Atacama – the world’s driest desert.

In addition, the miner said it would aim to recycle 65% of its industrial waste by 2030, starting with a move to recycle 100% of tyres while increasing recycling of non-hazardous solid industrial residuals, such as steel, wood, packaging materials, organic waste and scrap metal.

“We are taking charge of our purpose as a company to strengthen the sustainable development of Chile and the world, with defined goals and deadlines,” CEO Octavio Araneda said in the statement.