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Aurubis and Codelco to collaborate on sustainable copper production

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

A strong partnership for sustainably produced raw materials and an increased global copper supply: Multimetal producer and copper recycler Aurubis and Chilean mining company Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, have signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement in Santiago de Chile.

Together, they aim to further improve the production of copper, the metal of the energy transition, and other elements while simultaneously balancing the needs of the environment and people along the supply chain. At the start of 2023, Codelco and Aurubis marked the renewal of the German-Chilean raw material partnership by announcing their intent to work together towards a more sustainable copper value chain by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Cooperation comprises six core working areas: Firstly, technical projects for more environmentally friendly production in Chile. Secondly, an employee exchange programme, in part to promote awareness of a sustainable supply chain. Thirdly, the partners plan to expand commercial activities to secure more metals for the European energy transition. The additional workflows address the exchange of information on ESG development with a particular focus on The Copper Mark sustainability quality seal, innovation and new decarbonising processes, expanding the circular economy and recycling in Chile.

“We are working with our raw material partners worldwide to set new standards in sustainable copper production,” Aurubis CEO Roland Harings said. “Our cooperation with Codelco is an indication of our successful approach. We help strengthen our partners’ sustainability performance along the supply chain by collaborating and exchanging information. The signatures of both parties signal their willingness to intensify this process and leverage potential for creating more ecological and socially responsible supply chains. This partnership is unique in the copper industry and an open invitation to all supply chain stakeholders to take part. The global copper industry is facing huge challenges, and we all have to work together to transform it.”

“Reducing the copper industry’s environmental footprint to the absolute minimum benefits everyone,” Codelco CEO Rubén Alvarado added. “We want to ensure that the methods we use to extract minerals, essential for the global transition to clean energy sources, grow increasingly sustainable. We are all targeting a central objective, environmentally friendly production, and this cooperation with Aurubis is an important driver here. This also goes hand in hand with our purpose as a company: Be a pillar for the sustainable development of Chile and of the world.”

The new cooperation agreement will have short, medium and long-term impacts. In?a structured process based on the legal framework for such cooperation agreements, both companies will regularly assess the successes achieved and ensure their lasting impact. These evaluations will create the foundation for further cooperation.

More than 15 projects to safeguard health and environmental protection are planned in the short term. These include further lowering emissions from central production steps in copper production, comprising diffuse emissions and Codelco’s Scope 1 emissions, which will in turn further decrease Aurubis’ Scope 3 emissions. The cooperation agreement defines different responsibilities for the partners: Aurubis will contribute its comprehensive technological expertise in protecting the air and water, such as state-of-the-art fine particle filters and analysis and testing methods, to the partnership, while Codelco will assume responsibility for project implementation.

Employees from both companies will play a central role in cooperation. Starting in April 2024, a custom-tailored expert exchange programme will enable participants to take a deeper dive into environmental, occupational safety, and health issues and reciprocally increase their understanding of a sustainable supply chain.

As part of the new cooperation agreement, the two companies also agreed to exchange experience related to The Copper Mark, the seal for sustainability and integrity in the copper industry. Since signing the memorandum of understanding with Aurubis for more sustainability in the supply chain one year ago, Codelco has completed The Copper Mark assurance process for its mines, smelters and refineries. Aurubis will also successfully conclude the certification in accordance with The Copper Mark for all its large smelters in 2024 and perform the first re-audit. The Copper Mark criteria comprise 32 internationally recognised, leading sustainability standards.

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Copper mining news South American mining news