Net Zero Roadmap to 2050 for Copper and Nickel Value Chains

As we seek to meet the challenges of climate change impacts, many commodities will play an increasing role in decarbonizing economies. There are increasing challenges of addressing the emissions from extraction of these commodities needed to support the zero-carbon transition.

CCSI, in a consortium with Carbon Trust, RMI, and the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines, developed the Net Zero Roadmap to 2050 for Copper and Nickel Value Chains to support the copper and nickel mining sectors in taking collective, coordinated action by providing a clear, approachable, and accepted roadmap for decarbonization.

Our key messages to mining CEOs are as follows:

  • Demand for Energy Transition Metals (ETMs) doubles GHG emissions. To reach net zero, ETM emissions will need to reduce by 90%. 
  • Technological solutions are already or soon will be available. Three waves of technology deployment: (i) Renewable energy, site operational energy efficiency improvements, and process optimization; (ii) zero-emissions haulage trucks; (iii) process heat electrification and green hydrogen. 
  • Enormous ESG risks associated with rising ETM demand. For example, many copper and nickel reserves are located in high water risk and high biodiversity areas respectively, necessitating proactive and responsible management.
  • Just Transition. Mining companies, governments and other actors have an important role in enabling communities to reimagine their future at the center of a new climate economy and in the process build community resilience. 
  • Collaboration is key to achieving net zero. Mining companies, value chain actors, and policymakers must work together to accelerate the development, deployment, and co-investment in the technological innovations required for the mine of the future, and to develop net zero industry standards, regulations, and frameworks.

The project was commissioned by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), as part of the World Bank Group’s Climate-Smart Mining initiative.