Sustainable development

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Climate change is a defining challenge of our era. We recognise the need to take meaningful action towards addressing its causes, and to help protect our employees, assets, as well as the communities and environments linked to our operations, against its potential impacts.

Anglo American total energy consumed

Reducing our GHG emissions

Our total GHG emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) were 17.9 Mt of CO2e, compared with 18.8 Mt in 2011. Our 2012 emissions data no longer includes the contribution of spontaneous combustion in process emissions, which was partly responsible for this reduction. We have discontinued reporting on this as it is not industry practice to do so and there is no agreed scientific methodology; however, we continue to estimate and report on this internally. In Australia, our primary alternative energy projects are the methane-fired power stations at our Moranbah North and Capcoal collieries. In South Africa, we have had positive results from replacing conventional boilers with heat pumps in the mine change-houses at our Kumba Iron Ore, Platinum and Thermal Coal businesses. In 2012, the overall contribution of renewable energy sources to our electricity consumption was 29%, mostly driven by our South American operations.

The Group target is to achieve a 19% saving in total GHG emissions against the 2015 projected business-as-usual (BAU) GHG emissions.

Energy consumption

During 2012, we consumed 108.3 million GJ of energy (2011: 102.1 million GJ). The 6% year-on-year increase was largely attributable to significant increases at our Los Bronces copper mine in Chile and our Barro Alto Nickel operation in Brazil – both of which are ramping up production. Disrupted production at operations in South Africa partially curbed our energy use, along with the 223 energy-savings projects implemented in 2012. We achieved savings of around $75 million through our energy-efficiency projects.

The Group target is to achieve a 7% saving in total energy consumption against the projected 2015 BAU energy consumption.


Our new climate change strategy requires that all operations and projects undertake climate change vulnerability assessments, following which all high-risk sites will undergo detailed climate change impact assessments. This follows detailed assessments conducted by Imperial College, London and the UK Met Office, in 2010 and 2011, on the potential impacts of climate change in a number of potentially high-risk operational regions.

This builds on a three year climate change impact assessment study for selected operations which was carried out by Imperial College, London. We are currently developing guidelines which will assist our projects and operation to interpret climate model data for planning of adaptation measures.

Driving efficiency

Improving energy efficiency is a core element of Anglo American’s response to climate change, as well as an economic value driver for the business because of the increasing cost of energy and concerns related to the security of electrical energy supplies. The bulk of the Group’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (51%) are generated through the electricity we purchase. The majority of this is coal-fired, which is why we will continue to drive efficiency gains in electrical power usage through asset optimisation and continuous-improvement programmes.

In 2004, we set a target to reduce our energy intensity by 15% by 2014 based on a 2004 baseline. All of our operations are involved in a considerable number of energy efficiency projects focused on optimising processes, technology and behaviour.

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