Aeonian is spearheading the tracking of carbon emissions created during the course of an exploration program, from greenfield prospecting to advanced mining operations. This helps us better understand our environmental impact, find ways to reduce our footprint and develop suitable and affordable methods to offset emissions. These offsets can also be built into a Social Licensing plan that helps contribute to communities.
Through our studies, we can often reveal inefficiencies that can spur a change in company culture and methodology, resulting not only to reduce carbon impact, but also save money in the long term.
We look at three specific areas when recording our carbon impact on a project:
Measuring carbon emissions is not an exact science at this stage, with certain aspects being much more amenable to monitoring that others.
For example, specific fuel types produce carbon dioxide and methane at very steady rates. One liter of pure gasoline contains 0.63 kilograms of carbon, yet due to the chemistry of combustion it can produce 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide.
Some aspects are harder to measure, for example the amount of energy required to assay one sample at the lab, and so for these estimates are used.
Through monitoring of our emissions we can see areas that can be improved in the long term. Exploration is challenging due to its remote nature, so the use of some greener technology is not always ideal. Carbon has a price, and our calculations can estimate that dollar amount which can then be used in environmental programs as part of our social license efforts.
Carbon pricing will be levied at around $50 per ton by 2022. We are using this higher number as a standard for our current calculations. For example, a recent four week prospecting program (road accessible) produced 2.671 tons of carbon dioxide, which would cost around $133.55 in Federal taxes.
Tree planting charities are another good way of offsetting carbon emissions. They calculate that 10 trees are required for every ton of carbon, at a cost of around $6 per tree.