Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Climate change to hit mining industry hard: Suzuki Foundation

A study released today predicts that the Canadian mining industry will be hit hard by climate change, and must adapt.

The study, undertaken by the David Suzuki Foundation, made clear that the industry is already feeling the impacts of global warming, that there are solutions to the problem.

“Because of its dependency on the natural environment, the Canadian mining sector is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change,” said co-author Jason Prno in a press release. 

Dale Marshall, climate policy analyst with the Suzuki Foundation, told The Tyee they commissioned the study because there wasn’t a lot of research that had been done before in the area.

“We’ve heard about the pine beetle, forest fires and drought in the prairies, but we didn’t hear anything about the mining industry,” he said.

The report is the first Canadian study of this kind.

Researchers surveyed employees of six mining operations. Most mining companies expected negative impacts from climate change.

Marshall said that people in the mining sector pointed to flooding and drought as two major impacts. Flooding can wash out a vital access road and drought can take away the water needed in mining processes.

The survey showed that all mine employees in the field recognized climate change as a threat. Only 25 per cent of senior management, however, believed that climate variability would impact their operations.

The report states that management’s slow response is responsible for the lack in planning.

“Those in the industry who had direct experience with traumatic events would be more likely to think adaptation was needed,” said Marshall. “They had a first hand view of what was going on.”

Certain industries were expecting some economic benefits, such as those mining uranium and anticipating that nuclear power will become a popular green energy.

Marshall said he wants the report to raise awareness for mining companies and government, calling most changes companies have made “piecemeal or ad hoc” and often not very proactive or long term.

He also emphasized that climate change in not a problem of the future, but rather one of the present as well.

“They need to start seeing how they are vulnerable right now,” Marshall said. “And then look into the future and start planning.”

In 2008, the mining industry grossed over eight billion dollars. It has more than doubled since 2004.

Melanie Kuxdorf reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus