The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a new mining sector strategy, setting out the Bank’s priorities in this area until 2029.
The new strategy recognises the important role the mining industry is set to play in developing greener economies that are aligned with the Paris Agreement. The responsible exploration and mining of metals and minerals, such as copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel, will be critical to achieving this goal.
The strategy has the following priorities:
To selectively support the exploration and production of metals and minerals required for the green energy transition and digitalisation.
To support the decarbonisation of mining activities by promoting cleaner energy sources, innovation, digitalisation, gender-equal skills development and resource efficiency.
To support mining companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) and inclusion practices.
To assist governments in the EBRD regions in improving mining sector regulation and businesses in implementing best practices.
The EBRD will support the exploration, development, production and processing of metals and minerals (with the exception of uranium and thermal coal) required for the green and digital transition and new technologies. The Bank will also promote circular economy principles in the mining sector to encourage the re-use and recycling of metals.
The EBRD will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing and new mining projects across all economies where it operates. The Bank will foster innovation and the digitalisation of mining activities in these economies to improve resource efficiency, make them more competitive and sustainable, and create a safer operating environment. The Bank will also promote inclusive access to digital and green skills, leading to greater employment opportunities in the sector.
The EBRD will promote the adoption of best ESG and inclusion practices and standards across the mining sector. It will also aim to reduce the environmental impact created by historical mining activities and support remediation work at legacy mining sites in the EBRD regions. The Bank will encourage an increase in ESG information disclosure and reporting practices.
The EBRD will assist national authorities in the economies where it operates in strengthening the knowledge and technical capacity of mining bodies. It will help to establish or strengthen sector policy development, improve compliance, and monitoring capacity and mechanisms. The EBRD will also work with key stakeholders to improve and broaden the availability and transparency of sector-related data.
The Bank is also planning to increase investment in the mining of critical raw materials essential for manufacturing wind turbines, solar panels, lithium-ion and electric car batteries, traction motors, heat pumps and similar equipment. These raw materials – which are widely used in iron and steelmaking, data storage and water electrolysis – must be produced in an environmentally sound, sustainable, resilient and circular manner.
The new strategy stipulates that the EBRD will review mining sector projects on an individual basis and check them against a robust set of requirements, including the Bank’s Environmental and Social Policy (ESP) and Performance Requirements. All projects will be subject to rigorous environmental and social due diligence and monitoring. As specified in the ESP, projects will be required to apply good international practice, such as the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. In line with EBRD’s commitments, all projects it supports will be aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Green Economy Transition Approach.