The International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) is leading an initiative among 28 of the world’s biggest mining companies and equipment manufacturers to collaborate on cleaner and safer mines through the use of next-gen mining vehicles and upgrades to existing vehicles.

Mining vehicles can account for 30-50% of all greenhouse gas emissions at mining sites – sometimes as much as 80%. Globally, there are around 28,000 large mine hauling trucks in service. These vehicles consume 900,000 liters of diesel and emit 68 million tons of CO2 every year.

By spurring cooperative searches for innovations, the ICMM is hoping to make the industry greener and safer for its workers.

“Our innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles initiative is technology agnostic and considers all technologies that can help members meet the ambition to reduce emissions, including battery electric and hydrogen powered vehicles,” ICMM’s Kristen Dodd said in Mining Weekly.

For starters, the initiative plans to get emission-free surface mining vehicles operating in mines by 2040. ICMM partners are also working with Original Equipment Manufacturers to promote technical innovations that minimize diesel exhaust, especially for underground vehicles. Currently, almost all underground mining vehicles are diesel powered.

Workforce Safety a Primary Concern

ICMM members have also made a commitment to improve the health and safety of their workforce, in an effort to reduce on-site injuries and fatalities.

Mobile equipment accidents accounted for about 30% of all mining fatalities in 2018. Collision avoidance technology can have a huge impact in reducing accident rates, in addition to improved site safety guidelines and protocols. One possible example: more down time and more frequent breaks, which could help reduce the amount of fatigue-induced injuries.

Investors who want to position their portfolios for an adaptable precious metals industry looking to a greener, safer future can consider the Sprott Gold Miners ETF (SGDM), which offers active exposure gold and silver miners. The Sprott Junior Gold Miners ETF (SGDJ) tracks junior gold miners.

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