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Barrick M&A leads to greenhouse gas emissions jump - Metals Focus

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(Kitco News) - Barrick Gold's corporate restructuring has led to a jump in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Metals Focus, a leading independent precious metals research consultancy, which today presented findings of its annual peer group ESG report comparing ESG metrics across 16 of the biggest gold miners over the last seven years.

Metals Focus said that this report, the latest of which comes out this week, aims to make like-for-like comparisons across this peer group, although this is not possible for all metrics because of the variability in disclosure. However, Metals Focus noted that comparing these companies from a high level does offer some useful perspectives.

"Barrick had the highest combined scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions in this group which increased by 10% y/y in 2020 to 7.4 Mt CO2e," wrote the study's authors. "Barrickā€™s emissions increased notably in 2019 due to the acquisition of Randgold and the creation of the Nevada Gold Mines JV with Newmont. Barrick is the majority partner in the JV and therefore now includes emissions figures from assets previously owned by Newmont. This simultaneously led to a reduction in emissions from Newmont."

Scope 1 emissions are those coming directly from on-site activities, such as vehicle fuel combustion and self-generated power. Scope 2 emissions are those generated indirectly from onsite activities, usually emissions resulting from the generation of purchased electricity from national grids. Reporting of GHG emissions is consistent across these companies allowing for direct comparisons, the consultancy noted.

Barrick said it has a plan to reduce GHG emissions. In April, the miner said technological advances had enabled the company to update its 2030 emissions reduction target from 10% to 30% against its 2018 baseline.

As for water consumption, which Metals Focus said is also a very important ESG metric as there is potential to disrupt other waters users, resulting in social and environmental impacts, Newcrest had the highest figure in 2020 driven by high water consumption rates at Lihir where water is used for cooling and tailings dilution. In total, for 2020 the peer group consumed 608,000 ML of water.

Additionally, Metals Focus paid attention to energy consumption, which is an important ESG metric as it is one of the main drivers of emissions, alongside the energy source. According to a report, Yamana, Polyus and Polymetal were the three most efficient producers in 2020. Being energy efficient helped these companies keep their unitised GHG emissions relatively low in 2020, wrote the report's authors.

In conclusion, Metals Focus pointed out that with most gold mining companies now having emission targets in place, it expects to see more investment from the industry in renewable energy sources in the coming years.

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