Energy and natural resources

Towards a sustainable mining

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Mining plays a fundamental role in carbon neutrality, not only as a supplier of strategic materials for decarbonization, but also as a polluting agent.

Mining is taking a leading role in the transition to sustainability and net zero. For example, the use of lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper is essential for electric mobility; aluminium, copper and silver are necessary for the construction of solar panels for power generation; and wind turbines require iron, aluminium, copper and zinc for their production.

This leads to the need to have sustainable production cycles, since otherwise the effort of society to make a change in their lifestyle towards a sustainable one would be meaningless. The circular economy of resources and materials in the mining industry should play a key role in this transition as it not only provides significant environmental benefits, but also the value that can be generated from waste materials arising from mining operations and minerals processing.


But to achieve sustainability, closure plans, water stewardship, tailings management, pollution prevention, and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction plans are required.

Mineral resources are finite, this means that the productive cycle is exhausted and a new one must be started elsewhere. The correct closure of the mine implies not only ensuring the stability of the land, but also remediation and territorial planning, for the subsequent use of the land and even its possible afforestation.

The treatment of tailings and other waste is a special factor and requires great planning before, during and after the project. Since they are usually generated massively and in large volumes, so transportation or treatment could generate a greater environmental impact, it is important to think about treatment and reuse alternatives, considering the high-water content they present.


In 2021, Argentina presented an update of the second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which it expressed a new absolute goal applicable to all sectors of the economy, not to exceed the net emission of 349.16 MtCO2e for the year 2030, which implies 27.7% less than the NDC presented in 2016.

To achieve this, it will be necessary to count on the mining sector as an ally. In pursuit of this, the National Mining Secretariat approved a "Strategic Planning for Argentine Mining Development" (PEDMA) for the next 30 years, which includes the creation of a National Roundtable for the preparation of common or shared vision proposal as main attribute of Sustainable Development, which includes economic, social and environmental aspects as part of a harmonious, balanced, equitable and responsible development that contributes to improving people's quality of life.

In turn, this plan has a "Management Program 2020/2023" that has 18 programs divided into seven strategic objectives:

  • Promote the sustainable development of the mining sector activity and promote investment in exploration and exploitation

  • Ensure the correspondence between the fiscal cost of mining promotion policies and the effective development of investment

  • Transform the development of mining activity into opportunities for the comprehensive development of people and communities

  • Communicate to the community the potential of mining within the framework of the national productive development model, seeking the diffusion and legitimization of mining activity

  • Promote access to information related to the activity and the National Mining Policy, guaranteeing transparent management of the sector

  • Contribute to environmental preservation, exercising the supervision established by Law No. 24,585 and guaranteeing the sustainable use of natural resources

  • Articulate governance in international, regional, provincial and local commitments, strengthening the international agenda.


At Grant Thornton we are familiar with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), to which Argentina has adhered since 2019. The EITI is a global standard to improve transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sector which establishes a framework for both governments and companies to develop and comply with the commitment to publicly disclose the financial flows that come from extractive activities.

Within the EITI, the impacts on air quality, water quality and quantity, acid mine drainage, impacts on land, ecosystems, and the economy are evaluated, with the aim of contributing to sustainable development and the benefit of citizenship.


Our mining, sustainability and public sector experts know the ins and outs of the activity and are prepared to accompany companies and governments to go beyond business and make the leap to sustainability. If you want to talk with them, contact us.