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Climate Change

MAC and its members are committed to supporting an orderly transition toward a lower carbon future, and to being a constructive partner in the fight against climate change.

Over the past two decades, MAC’s member companies have improved energy efficiency and reduced emissions at their operations through measures such as MAC’s mandatory Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM®) initiative and through innovations at the mine-site level.

Additionally, there is a natural synergy between mining and clean technology. Raw materials are transformed into technology that, having gone full circle, assist mining operations in reducing environmental footprints and enhancing efficiency and reliability. These same raw materials are also enabling the world to transition to a low carbon future.

Two Decades of Engagement

In response to the Kyoto Protocol, and in support of a credible response to climate change, MAC released its first climate change statement in March 2000. In the years that followed, MAC undertook several measures to improve its membership’s performance in energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management.

In 2004, MAC and its members launched the TSM initiative, which requires facilities to report their energy use and GHG emissions management performance and to set targets. In 2009, MAC also adopted the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Climate Change Policy. These industry-wide actions have been complemented by a host of individual member company actions to improve energy and fuel efficiency, reduce GHG emissions, and improve environmental performance. They also underscore the mining industry’s long-held recognition that we need to be part of the solution.

In 2016, MAC and its members released Principles for Climate Change Policy Design, notable for its inclusion of support for a broad-based price on carbon. The Principles were developed to inform the federal government as it drafted the pan-Canadian climate change framework. The document outlines elements of a successful carbon price regime: one that leads to meaningful emissions reductions while simultaneously protecting emissions-intensive and trade-exposed sectors, like the mining industry, and being sensitive to the unique circumstances faced by Canada’s remote and northern regions.

TSM: An Industry-wide Approach to Continuous Improvement

MAC’s TSM initiative is an award-winning international performance system that helps mining companies evaluate and manage their environmental and social responsibilities. TSM is the only mining program in the world that requires public reporting of site-level performance against program indicators, the results of which are independently verified by a third-party. TSM has also been growing internationally. 

The TSM Energy Use and GHG Emissions Management Protocol demonstrates industry’s commitment to energy management and GHG emissions mitigation. To achieve TSM’s good practice standard (Level A, which is aligned with ISO 50001 certification), each facility must show its management system includes assigned accountability from senior management, and that it has a process in place to ensure energy data are reviewed regularly and are well integrated into operator actions. Facilities are also expected to provide energy awareness training, and have systems in place to track and report energy use and GHG emissions data for both internal and external reporting. Finally, in TSM’s spirit of continuous improvement, this protocol seeks to confirm that facilities establish and meet targets for their energy use and GHG emissions performance.

Recent revisions to MAC’s Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities and TSM Tailings Management Protocol have added climate change-related aspects. For example, the Guide directs new facilities to consider impacts of climate change, including extreme precipitation events and potential impacts on permafrost in northern areas during the risk assessment process.

TSM also includes leading practices in community engagement. To achieve Level AAA, companies must demonstrate their support for community projects in this area.