An Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Climate Change Adaptation in Mining

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December 15, 2016

Presented by:

  • Sean Capstick (Principal, Golder Associates)

A changing climate presents physical risks to mine infrastructure as mines are often located in challenging geographies that can experience extreme weather or were not designed for more frequent extreme weather events. Climate challenges have led to a wide range of industry impacts, from direct impacts on mine operations to indirect impacts via supply chains. If these risks are not characterized and addressed, they may have cost implications that affect the return on investment and the profitable operating life of mines or facilities.

A risk based tool has been developed and implemented to characterize and rank the risk to various mine infrastructure under current and future climate conditions. Mine infrastructure components (e.g. tailings dam, holding ponds or water supply) that could be adversely impacted by climate are identified in the tool as a potential climate/infrastructure interaction. The risk for each interaction is then characterized using a combination of the severity of the consequence, and the likelihood that the consequence would occur under both the current and future climate conditions. The tool allows for the analysis of how different climate adaptation measures would impact the risk score for different climate/infrastructure interactions.

This webinar presented results from a case study of the implementation of the tool, as well as the tool development and how uncertainty in climate change projections can be addressed.