While copper is one of the world’s most important, and valuable, metals, the vulnerabilities of its supply chain have been laid bare by the Covid-19 pandemic. With prices volatile, logistics disrupted and general concern about the value and reliability of international trade, the copper supply chain has struggled to maintain its security over the last few years.

Yet this is not to say that the trade of copper is doomed. In fact, these uncertainties have driven a rapid reorganisation of the supply chain, with a greater emphasis on improving efficiency and creating a truly circular economy at all levels of the industry. Will this shift be enough to continue building links in the great copper chain?

Elsewhere, we consider some of the latest approaches to managing mine tailings, and ask whether responsible mining can ever be achieved in a world more concerned than ever with environmental regulation.

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In this issue

Transport, the supply chain and scope 3 emissions

The transportation of mined materials makes up a large portion of mining companies’ scope 3 emissions. Zachary Skidmore explores their impact and what solutions exist to the reduction of scope 3 emissions derived from transport.

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Flexible focus: the tailings management system at Teck ’s QB2 mine

Effective tailings management remains one of the crucial parts of a mining operation. Giles Crosse asks if Teck’s $5bn Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 mine can ensure safe operations?

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The fragmentation of the copper supply chain

Covid-19 laid bare many of the vulnerabilities of the mining supply chain, particularly in copper. Zachary Skidmore considers the potential solutions to reduce fragmentation.

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Inside the MSAT: how mining is striving to clean up its act

Could a new mining assessment tool help the industry ensure compliance with economic, environmental, social and governance criteria? Nnamdi Anyadike investigates.

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Is responsible mining possible in the 21st century?

Zachary Skidmore looks past miners’ corporate commitments to ESG, and considers whether mining can truly be responsible and what challenges exist.

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Next issue: coal

A relic from a bygone era of industrial production, or the heartbeat of the world’s energy mix? The reality is that coal likely occupies a space between these two extremes, and balancing the need to meet energy demand with the importance of protecting our rapidly-crumbling climate is one of the key challenges for the present and the future of the mining industry.