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Environmental Stewardship

It was only in the early 70´s that environment impacts and human behavior was included on the agenda of world society. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment that was held in Stockholm in 1972 was the first international conference that focused on human interactions with the environment. Yet, at the time environmental governance was not seen as an international priority.

A decade later, a number of global environmental challenges had undoubtedly not been adequately addressed. The challenge posed in the 1980s was to harmonize prosperity with ecology. It led to the establishment of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), also called the Brundtland Commission, which invented the term sustainable development in the paper Our Common Future (1987), released by the United Nations in 1983. The report was intended as a response to the conflict between the nascent order promoting globalized economic growth and the accelerating ecological degradation occurring on a global scale.

In the “Brundtland Report” sustainable development is defined as the kind of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As a result of the increased environmental consciousness generated in the 70´s and 80´s, governments began regulating industrial activities, including mining, with environmental protection in mind. Nowadays we have a better understanding of our interaction with the environment and environmental standards grow ever more stringent, these conditions have contributed to the advancement in technology and changes in management techniques, which have made it increasingly possible for mining companies to produce cleaner and reduce the negative impacts of their activities.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the technological or management technique improvements, mining will never be a benign or environmentally friendly activity. Removing the earth’s minerals and processing them without harming the natural environment (air, land, water, as well as flora and fauna) is virtually impossible. Still, the goal and commitment of modern mining companies is to mine sustainable, or in other words, minimize the negative impacts from their activities on the environment during all stages of the mine life cycle and to maximize the restoration of ecosystems during and at the end of the mine life.

Also, in times of growing demand for metals as a result of the technology led-transformation (cellphones, renewable energy, batteries, electrical vehicles etc.) the mining sector still struggles to improve its reputation, and, by many, it is still being perceived as a polluting industry. Even though the sector is regulated more than ever before and companies, through collaborative efforts (ICMM) and at individual level, have made great advances, it is clear that mine disasters (e.g. dam failures and oil spills) such as the ones that took place in Canada, Brazil and Russia over the past decade did not help improve the sectors image. Besides, there is still a lot cleanup work to do from mine waste generated over centuries, the so-called environmental liabilities, often generated by mines that no longer exist, and that will continue to generate negative impacts for centuries to come if governments and mining companies do not take the necessary remediation action.

We at CDPR see an important opportunity in the environmental remediation through the extraction of remaining valuable minerals from the stockpiles and deposits generated by previous mining activities, as well as the sustainable closure of mines and mine components. CDPR endorses and conducts responsible mining practices, and we utilize up-to-date technology and industrial development solutions to improve baseline conditions in the areas where we operate.

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