Visualized: Mining Emissions and How They Can be Addressed

Aaron Foyer

Mining Series:

The Minerals Market  |  Metals for the Energy Transition  |  Mining Emissions  |  Deep-Sea Mining

Mining Emissions and How They Can be Addressed

If the mining industry were a country, its emissions would be equivalent to the top 4 emitting countries combined (China, the United States, India, and Russia).

Yet, according to the World Bank, mineral resource development must be recognized as a “complement and not a competitor, to a greener more sustainable future”.

The Mining Industry by the Numbers

Mining operations and power consumption: 1 % of global emissions

Fugitive-methane emissions from coal mining: 3-6% of global emissions

Combustion of coal 28% of global emissions

Combined, the sector is responsible for 32-35% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The mining sector is at the front end of addressing climate change issues with numerous options to reduce its global emissions impact through operational efficiency, electrification, and renewable energy use.  Major efforts will be required by the coal industry to reduce fugitive methane emissions.

The decarbonization potential for mines is impacted by various factors including the mine type, the commodity, the power source, and grid emissions so several options are available for consideration.

For certain, the demands of a low carbon energy shift are dependent on a robust and sustainable mining and metals industry.


Mt – million tons

GWP20 – 20-Year Global Warming Potential

GWP100 – 100-Year Global Warming Potential