José González
CEO
Blacktogreen Consulting
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Sustainability, Efficiency, Net Zero: Key Requirements in Mining

By Paloma Duran | Wed, 06/02/2021 - 16:42

Q: Why should companies look to a third party when working to meet ESG goals?

A: There are many reasons for miners to seek out a consultancy. In particular, we can help provide a better view of what awaits them and what the company wants to achieve. A third party helps to identify and implement best practices, including those from other countries, companies or sectors. Often, you will receive the richest advice through consulting. For example, ESG practices often are only implemented in the environmental area, but they can be implemented in every aspect of a company, including the financial area. Having a broader view allows you to identify these opportunities. In addition, the different sustainability rankings (ESG scores) are not homogenized. So there are many methodologies and KPI to judge the environmental performance of a corporation. This leads to different results. If a company wants to cover ESG efficiently, it needs a third party.

Q: Why should mining companies be interested in Blacktogreen’s solutions?

A: We help companies operate more efficiently and sustainably, which is a co-relation we always emphasize. The company needs to be sustainable but, at the same time, that has to be linked to efficiency, otherwise there will not be any long-term success. At Blacktogreen, we have adopted a technological approach to sustainability, looking for the best available technologies and we analyse how to implement them into our projects. We like to say that we are an integrator of sustainability solutions because this is not a unilateral process, it requires linking together several actors, and we have many alliances with leader companies that allow us to be that link.

Q: What factors make Blacktogreen a great ally during a company’s environmental transition?

A: There are few offerings on the market that implement our approach. We work in four key areas: environment, water, energy efficiency and soil. In addition, we work with technology linked to sustainability. These factors allow us to have a broader vision, which is one of our differentiators. We are a one-stop shop for sustainability. Also, our strategy is global.

Q: How do companies boost their energy and resource efficiency through Blacktogreen’s solutions?

A: There is still a great deal to do regarding energy efficiency. Companies tend to turn to renewable energies in this regard when in reality, renewables are only one part of the equation. There is great potential in this area, and there is always room for improvement. In Mexico, it has become vital to develop energy opportunities, especially due to the uncertainty in the market. In the mining sector, in particular, there are many opportunities because energy efficiency reduces emissions and significantly lowers costs. What we have seen is that much remains to be done, from correctly diagnosing energy needs to the implementation of energy systems.

Q: How is the company helping mining companies to comply with NOM-025-SSA1-2014?

A: We provide solutions for the monitoring of air quality, which are parameterized with NOM-025 that establishes the daily and annual limits of suspended particles. Our Enivirosuite platform not only monitors in real time, but also makes meteorological predictions to highlight the existing conditions and risks for the dispersion of dust, which allows our clients to implement the necessary measures to comply with NOM-025.

Q: How does the company help to reduce the environmental impact of a mine closure?

A: There are several things to consider when closing a mine. Often, the closure plan is not considered until years after the mine has entered operations. That is a serious mistake. It must be considered even before opening the mine. We focus on the closure and decontamination of the soil. Through an alliance, we have created artificial soil for the recovery of contaminated spaces and the treatment of acidic waters at a minimum cost. Other decontamination programs are often long term and expensive; ours addresses the root of the problem by creating artificial soil from waste, which is the source of the pollution. The waste is collected from the mining site, as well as from the surrounding municipalities, leading to a circular economic benefit.

Q: How do the company's technosols work?

A: Technosols are made based on a previous soil analysis. We create soils with recalcitrant carbon that neutralizes heavy and toxic metals. This carbon makes the soil durable so that it does not degrade with the first rains. We are looking to ensure the surrounding vegetation grows back on its own, so we accelerate what normally occurs in nature. Our solution may take a little longer, but it is more economic and durable than a commercial solution.

Q: What is a key element companies need to keep in mind when working toward the efficient management of water and treatment plants?

A: We know that there are many aspects that must be attended to. We have worked with several mining companies on the development of their projects. An important factor is that you should not only consider the water that has been granted under concession, but the entire aquifer when conducting studies to understand the impact of the operation. The objective should be to improve the aquifer. In the mining sector, we are more involved in treatment plants, water action programs, especially in communities, and the implementation of efficient water management systems. We help companies take a systematic approach and improve their management of this scarce resource.

Q: How might USMCA boost sustainable development in mining in Mexico?

A: USMCA is important for safeguarding the environment and we hope that ESG practices will be strengthened as well as further promotion of environmental responsibility. For mining, ESG practices have become crucial, and these will be important factors for USMCA’s implementation. USMCA will be in every industry to ensure that environmental goals are met.

Q: Where do you see the Mexican mining sector in the next five years in terms of environmental and sustainable issues?

A: There will not be any radical change in five years but there will be continuous advancements. Sustainability standards will become increasingly strict and companies will have to adapt and comply, especially to access financing. It is not about quick changes but about gradual and continuous improvement. We believe that Mexico is on that path.

Blacktogreen Consulting offers turnkey sustainability services and projects. The company focuses on four areas: energy savings, environment, water and soil. Blacktogreen combines leading technologies and complements them with technical services to provide ecological solutions.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst