The findings of the Gold and climate change: Adaptation and resilience research, undertaken in collaboration with global physical design and risk consultancy Stantec, provide a summary of:

  • Physical climate change hazards and vulnerabilities likely to impact gold mining at a regional and site level, including indirect and community-based impacts
  • Current company approaches to managing physical climate change risks and building resilience at the mine site (and community) level
  • Current guidance and standards that might be used to define risk vulnerability and appraisal methodologies
  • Recommended enhancements and additions to current gold mining adaptation plans and strategies to bolster future industry resilience.

The work makes extensive use of the methodology recommended/utilised in the recent IPCC (Working Group II) 6th Assessment Report and is also compatible with most key international standards on physical climate risk and vulnerability assessments.

There is clear and compelling evidence in the report to suggest that gold mining companies (and, specifically, our members) are well aware of many physical climate hazards and have taken action to reduce their vulnerabilities (i.e. to build further resilience). Among the many adaptation strategies noted, many can be broadly categorised as being based on enhanced planning and infrastructure design.

There is, however, more that can be done to further develop a more robust and consistent approach to building future adaptive capacity, particularly when we consider ‘cascading/compounding’ climate risks and the (often indirect) risks from increased levels of vulnerability in local communities. The report therefore makes several recommendations to enhance future gold mining adaptation and resilience planning, suggesting the industry might:

  • Strive for greater sectoral consistency and knowledge sharing in defining methodologies for assessing climate vulnerability and adaptation 
  • Balance consideration of acute risk with a longer-term view on chronic risks 
  • Incorporate an acknowledgement and understanding of combined compound risks 
  • Integrate community risks into local vulnerability appraisals and resilience plans 
  • Use local and indigenous knowledge of climate change and weather impacts to inform their climate risk assessment process 
  • Share knowledge and resources with local communities, and adopting a multi-stakeholder approach to adaptation planning and designing for climate change resilience 

Plan for innovation, using data and technology to produce a more dynamic approach to managing climate-related vulnerabilities and potential physical hazards.

For more on gold and climate change, click here.