Rio Tinto Kennecott awarded the Copper Mark for responsible mining

April 23, 2024

Rio Tinto Kennecott has received the Copper Mark — a certificate that demonstrates the site’s responsible production of copper and sustainable mining practices.

The Copper Mark was established in 2020 as an assurance framework for copper users to know how their copper is produced. Kennecott was the first recipient of the award and is one of the first to recertify. Every three years, mining sites must undergo a robust audit to keep their Copper Mark by meeting more than 30 environmental, social and governance criteria.

Rio Tinto Kennecott Managing Director Nate Foster said: “Being a responsible copper producer is essential to the longevity of our operations. How we operate matters as much as what we produce. We set ambitious environmental targets to continue reducing our carbon footprint and aim to demonstrate responsible management of natural resources to exceed the expectations of the community we work in. This wouldn’t be possible without the best people in our industry to make it happen.”

Kennecott produces around 12 percent of the U.S. copper supply and is the only mine with a full value chain operation in America — from ore to 99.99 percent pure copper with byproducts of gold, silver, lead carbonate, platinum, palladium, selenium, molybdenum and tellurium.

The Copper Mark stands as the world’s leading assurance framework for responsible value chains of copper, molybdenum, nickel and zinc. A revised standard effective from 1st January 2024 further enhances the value of The Copper Mark and its sister products The Molybdenum Mark, The Nickel Mark and The Zinc Mark for both producers themselves and the markets they serve. In view of climate change and the energy transition, responsible production is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for global market access and access to capital.

Since the launch of its assurance framework in 2020, more than 30 percent of all globally mined copper now originates from sites that have received The Copper Mark. Sites currently undergoing assurance represent an additional 10 percent of global production. Molybdenum, nickel and zinc have also been incorporated into the assurance framework starting late 2022. Currently, 25 sites have already been assigned either The Molybdenum Mark, The Nickel Mark or The Zinc Mark, or a combination thereof.

The Copper Mark and the three other metal marks hold equal importance for large, medium-sized and smaller companies alike. Participation is based on the independent evaluation of sites against 33 different criteria for environmental performance, social behavior and governance, as defined in the Risk Readiness Assessment Criteria Guide. In pursuit of continuous improvement among participants, these requirements were tightened after a two year long, inclusive, revision process in October 2023. As of 2024, both new participants in The Copper Mark and those renewing their participation must meet the new standard.

Performance against the standard is assessed at site-level, by independent third-party assessors that have been approved by The Copper Mark. A key strength of The Copper Mark is its robust assurance process, delivering transparent outcomes and public reports on the performance of each site in relation to the 33 criteria of the standard.

Michèle Brülhart, Executive Director of The Copper Mark, remarked: “The revised standard is more prescriptive in terms of what is required for assessment. Even more importantly, new chapters on climate action, circular economy and responsible supply chains have been added. Our aim is to position The Copper Mark even more clearly as a credible option for regulators and for customers that are seeking responsible mining and production practices.”



Related article search: