Yellow and red excavators at mining site photographed while on assignment for Indonesia's largest coal mining company, South Kalimantan

Excavators working at site owned by Indonesia’s largest coal mining company. Photo: Dominik Vanyi / Unsplash .

This work builds on the World Bank Group Climate Smart Mining (CSM) initiative’s commitment to sustainable economic development. By enabling mining companies to shift their operational ethos towards a long-term vision of community resilience, this project aims to enhance adaptive capacity of communities around mining sites.

The production of critical minerals such as graphite, lithium and cobalt is projected to increase by more than 450% by 2050 to meet the demand for renewable energy technologies. Other minerals and metals important to low-carbon futures include copper, iron ore, lead, nickel, manganese, cadmium, molybdenum, indium, silver, titanium, zinc, aluminum and rare earth metals. The communities and countries that are home to these critical minerals and metals consistently rank amongst the most vulnerable to climate impacts, such as extreme weather events, flooding, drought, wildfires, water scarcity and vector-borne diseases. As a result, accurately diagnosing climate risk and enhancing climate resilience in these communities is vital to enhancing human well-being in the face of increased climate-related disasters while also securing the foundations of a new low carbon economy.

The project’s objectives are also aligned with the recommendations in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR6 WGII report, specifically its Climate Resilience Development framework. Among others, these goals include resource rights being given priority in private sector decision-making, strengthened decision-making on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and water resource management that is ecosystem-based and holistic. In the context of climate risk reduction, this project also presents a unique opportunity to build enhanced cooperation on climate change in the private sector, which depends on the willingness of business leaders to commit to shared objectives for community resilience and institutional change. These shared objectives must include applying a gender-sensitive and human rights-based approach to enhancing resilience for extremely vulnerable groups of people in the critical mineral supply chain. Transformation in the critical mineral mining sector through the development and co-creation of knowledge, tools and climate risk assessment approaches that can be applied and adapted to site and community-specific needs is crucial.

By engaging directly with companies and communities in training and education, co-production processes, research, and with tools developed by SEI, this project will provide a traceable pathway to impact in the sector via rolling mixed-media knowledge products including podcasts, infographics and briefs that detail how resilience might be achieved through mining projects.

In 2022, SEI was contracted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to offer guidance and advice on climate risk and develop a resilience roadmap for the mining sector. SEI leads the project and partners with Palladium International to provide climate risk assessment tools for the mining sector, organize capacity building workshops with local stakeholders in Africa, Asia and Latin America and recommend climate resilience commitments to the mining sector, along with financial products and services to fund climate resilience interventions.