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Gold Fields Targets Ambitious Decarbonization Amid Global Net Zero Effort

Mining Giant Gold Fields Commits to Reducing Carbon Emissions Across All Scopes

by Adenike Adeodun

Gold Fields, a leader in clean energy within the mining sector, is advancing significantly towards global net zero emissions. Under Martin Preece’s leadership, the company has pioneered renewable energy use and is now boldly tackling Scope 3 decarbonisation, a complex and often overlooked area.

On Monday, Gold Fields committed to reducing its Scope 3 carbon emissions by a net 10% from a 2022 baseline. This goal enhances the company’s existing objective to cut Scope 1 and 2 emissions by a net 30% by 2030, compared to a 2016 baseline.

This Johannesburg- and New York-listed mining behemoth has already achieved considerable progress by commissioning 50 MW of solar power at its South Deep gold mine in Gauteng. Additionally, it’s exploring the possibility of adding 60 to 80 MW of wind power.

Determining its Scope 3 target involved Gold Fields working collaboratively with key suppliers for 18 months. They discovered that their total 2022 Scope 3 emissions were 980,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e), accounting for 36% of their overall emissions of 2,696,000 tonnes of CO2e. This percentage represents a notable increase from the previously reported 25%, following the latest greenhouse gas protocols and methodologies by the International Council of Mining & Metals.

Achieving this reduction target necessitates a collaborative effort with suppliers, especially since gold mining companies generally produce minimal downstream emissions. The study pinpointed suppliers of fuels, mining services, cement, and explosives as the main contributors to Scope 3 emissions.

According to a report by Mining Weekly, Gold Fields plans to intensify its supplier engagement to reassess its decarbonisation progress and targets by 2025, in line with its commitment to net zero carbon by 2050, as per the Paris Agreement.

Interim CEO Preece stressed the critical need to extend decarbonisation efforts across the supply chain. The company’s strategies will focus on switching to greener products, selecting eco-friendly suppliers, and embedding emission reductions into procurement criteria.

To meet its current 10% reduction goal, Gold Fields must reduce 100,000 tonnes CO2e from its 2022 baseline of 980,000 tonnes CO2e by 2030. This reduction requires decreasing emissions intensity from 346,000 g CO2e/oz in 2022 to 314,000 g CO2e/oz by 2030.

In terms of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the company’s target is a net reduction of 510,000 tonnes CO2e by 2030 from a 2016 baseline, equating to a drop from 788,000 g CO2e/oz in 2016 to 423,000 g CO2e/oz.

With substantial investments in renewable energy, now constituting 17% of its electricity mix, Gold Fields is well on its way to reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The company is poised to make even greater reductions in 2023, which will also aid in cutting Scope 3 emissions.

Operating in Australia, South Africa, Ghana, Peru, and with projects in Canada and Chile, Gold Fields produces an annual gold equivalent of 2.4 million ounces. Its proven and probable gold mineral reserves total 46.1 million ounces, alongside significant measured and indicated gold mineral resources.

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