Note: This article is adapted from here.
The World Gold Council has recently dispelled a common misconception about the sustainability of gold production. In a new report titled Gold and Climate Change, they have shed light on the truth behind the operations, revealing that gold is in actuality one of the most environmentally conscious resources mined.
The report aims to better explain gold mining and provides an unadulterated review on its impact. When examining how gold production exacerbates climate change, the report divulged that the total carbon emissions in its extraction process is ‘significantly’ smaller than that of the other significant mined commodities like coal, steel and aluminium. The report delves deeper and highlights that gold has one of the lowest CHG emissions per dollar. Gold also plays a vital role in the development of technologies that assist in the adjustment towards a low carbon economy. This can be exemplified by advancements like gold catalysts which convert carbon dioxide into functional fuels, gold nanomaterials which have been used to intensify the performance of hydrogen fuel cells and has proven valuable in enhancing photovoltaics.
Beyond the glamour of gold, it has also secured its place as a strategic investment asset. It is crucial for the mammoth impact it has on the climate to be made explicit to investors. To better prioritise the issue, investors should gain a clearer understanding of the consequence of gold’s greenhouse gas emissions, whilst maintaining the element's presence as a key segment in a diversified portfolio.
Why the sudden shift towards sustainability? Miners around the world are taking initiatives and making crucial changes to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their energy efficiency in the gold mining process. Clean Mining, part of the Clean Earth Technologies Group, has a sustainable solution which replaces toxic cyanide and mercury with a non-toxic gold recovery agent in the extraction process. Its revolutionary technology has helped deliver a safe alternative, which puts an end to the harmful by-products of gold mining: leaking, spillage and exposure to dangerous chemicals. Through this, they will help to transform gold mining worldwide, benefiting people’s health and the ecosystem as a whole.