In 2019, Levin Sources signed onto the New York Declaration on Forests, a partnership of governments, multinational companies, civil society and indigenous peoples working to halve deforestation by 2020, and end it by 2030. The world has lost 50% of its forests already, and we are losing 48 football fields of forest every minute.
Forests are essential for all life to exist on earth, due to their importance in stabilising ecosystems and acting as a carbon sink, which in turn stabilises carbon levels in the atmosphere. But forests are increasingly being threatened, by mining and other human activities, at alarming levels. The world has lost 50% of its forests already, and deforestation is escalating across the world. One-third of carbon emissions are caused by deforestation – equalling the amount of carbon emissions created by oil consumption.
The mining industry is the 4th most significant driver of deforestation, responsible for 7% of the global total per annum. In 2015, 20% of the world’s forests are within 50 kilometres of an active mine, and an estimated 1500 mines – nearly half of operational large-scale mines – are operating in forests. An additional 1,826 mines operating in forests are in development, or non-operational.
The top 3 minerals mined in forests are gold, iron ore, and copper, while aluminium, titanium and nickel have the highest reliance on forest mines.
All mine companies – not just ICMM members – must agree to respect no-go zones, and prioritise forest protection in their operations. Miners can also make a public commitment to protect and nurture trees by signing the New York Declaration on Forests, implementing the World Bank’s Forest-Smart Mining Principles, and putting forests first in all phases of the mining life cycle. Miners can also reduce their impact on forests by prioritising brownfield sites over greenfield sites, auditing and disclosing their forest, carbon and water footprints, and embedding the goals of the UN Decade of Restoration into their policies.
In this paper, you will find:
- An introduction to the importance of forests in managing carbon emissions
- Information on how forests are being impacted by mining activity
- Risks associated with continued deforestation at current levels
- Measures miners can take to minimise their contribution to deforestation
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