Governments need to speed up permitting of new mines to boost their chances to meet a surge in demand for minerals vital to feed the clean energy transition, Teck Resources chief executive Jonathan Price said on Thursday.
“Across government and industry, there is growing awareness that supporting the low-carbon transition and our growing population means meeting new demand for critical minerals,” Price said, speaking at the Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce in London, where Teck opened an office last year.
“And that means working together to get new mines online faster.”
Price’s remarks come as Teck tries to fend off an unsolicited and unwanted takeover bid from London-listed mining giant Glencore, while reworking a plan to separate its copper and zinc business from the steelmaking coal unit that failed to secure enough shareholder support in April.
As pressure rises on mining companies to procure minerals needed to build electric vehicles and infrastructure, approvals for new mines can take from 2-3 years to more than a decade. The yawning divide between Western countries’ and China’s approaches to funding supply chains is becoming a top concern for policymakers.
Canada, where Teck has its primary listing, last year pledged to review the permitting process with an eye on cutting the time required to bring mines online by avoiding duplication and ensuring early Indigenous consultation and engagement.
Mining companies are hyper alert to concerns opposing projects that might destroy sacred land or gobble up water and other resources essential to the livelihood of local communities.
“Miners need to do a better job not just meeting, but exceeding ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) expectations to justify getting new production online faster,” Price said.
“If you (a mining company) don’t have a strong ESG track record, you simply won’t get the necessary support of governments, communities, and Indigenous Peoples needed to operate and grow,” he added.
(By Clara Denina; Editing by Kim Coghill)