'Because of its dependency on the natural environment, the Canadian mining sector is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change,' says report co-author and mining researcher Jason Prno.
The study - Climate Change and Canadian Mining: Opportunities for Adaptation - is the first of its kind in Canada. It looks at current mining-industry trends in relation to climate change impacts on mining operations, efforts to curb the industry’s own greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities to adapt. It was conducted by a team of leading mining researchers and academics in the field. In addition to two major surveys, the study involved six in-depth case studies of mining operations in the Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Labrador and the Yukon.
Over the past 20 years, mines across Canada have experienced impacts from climate events including: droughts decreasing water availability and forcing gravel quarries to curtail production; warm temperatures leading to ice road closures, and heavy rains shutting down access roads.
'The mining sector is increasingly taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but most companies are not yet pro-actively planning for climate change,' Mr. Prno says.
'The risks of climate change are becoming a central fact of business life,' says Dale Marshall, climate policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation. 'Every sector needs to be part of the solution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the root cause of climate change. But preparing for the ongoing reality of climate change is in the best interests both of mining companies and communities whose well-being is tied to the success of the industry.'
'The Canadian mining sector can do its part by implementing measures to adapt to climate change and reducing its carbon footprint. It should also join with Canadians across the country to call on the Canadian government to sign onto a strong deal in Copenhagen for the sake of our environment and economy,' Mr. Marshall says.
The full study, a summary for decision-makers and a summary of key findings are available for download.