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Conference panels

Conference panels

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Panel 4: Critical minerals and ESG

Day 3, Session 12
Critical minerals and social licence to operate: Is ESG really important or does it just facilitate green washing?

The importance of building and retaining a social licence to operate for mining has long been an important focus for the resource sector. Its well understood that the relationship between a company and community forms a ‘social contract’ that is constantly being renewed and renegotiated. The mining of critical minerals is closely linked to SLO and to ensure their sustainable extraction, mining companies must engage with local communities, minimise environmental impacts and operate transparently. Failing to do so can cause significant reputational and financial impact to a mining company.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are equally important for the mining industry and are gaining increased focus for critical minerals that are essential for the accelerating the energy transition. However, in the race to secure sufficient resources to fuel this transition there are many examples of poor environmental and social outcomes as a result of critical mineral extraction. A range of new policies, led by the EU and other Western Nations, are seeking to enforce ESG considerations in critical mineral supply chains, with strong signals from both government and critical mineral customers to ensure supply chains meet community expectations. In the future there will be more pressure on critical mineral producers and customers to ensure that their practices and supply chains meet ESG requirements while still providing sufficient supply to meet global decarbonisation efforts.

In this panel session we will pose the questions:
  • Does ESG really matter for critical minerals or does demand trump responsible sourcing?
  • How does the industry differentiate critical mineral extraction from non-renewables to overcome NIMBY sentiments?
  • Could Australian produced critical minerals with superior ESG credentials actually attract a premium in the global market?

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