The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mining industry. Supply chains were disrupted when many mining companies scaled down their activities, and this has resulted in stalled expansion projects which hinder efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Recovery and re-starting growth will be an arduous process for gold mining operators. But there is also an opportunity to build back better.
Although there is anticipation of a pick up as economies return to normal, exploration budgets are expected to stay low as companies brace for continued volatility. For many countries with a significant extractive industry, domestic mining production may increase, but this is still dependent on many factors at the local level. Looking forward, the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on supply chain security and other aspects of the industry remains unclear.
Climate-related financial disclosures have not gone away, and many view COVID-19 as a potential opportunity for the broader adoption of sustainable practices by mining companies. As such, companies must continue implementing changes in operations to make working processes cleaner and more sustainable.
For gold mining companies, utilising a clean gold recovery reagent and de-watering process will significantly boost the company’s ESG credentials and allow its activities to add value to development in communities surrounding the mining site. Clean Earth Technologies has that cost-effective cyanide-free and mercury-free gold recovery reagent with fast reaction kinetics, and gold processing can be carried out efficiently and with non-toxic outcomes.
Investment in the mining and metals industry continues to be viewed as high-risk, due to socio-environmental concerns related to mercury emissions, tailings disasters, and waste dumping violations. Many of the world’s largest investment firms have already declared their commitment to environmental, social and governance-driven portfolios, and climate-related financial disclosures have become the industry norm.
Companies looking to strengthen their financial position in a post-COVID-19 world will need to address these ESG concerns. Cutting costs through operational improvements, with the incorporation of clean mining products, will also be necessary for gold mining companies to survive the inevitable restructuring of the industry. In this way, the pandemic offers mining companies a starting point for broader developmental change — as part of a world that has decided to build back better.