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<p>Senior programme officer Verónica Martinez at the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles is on a mission to drive sustainable change across the mining industry.</p>
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Senior programme officer Verónica Martinez at the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles is on a mission to drive sustainable change across the mining industry.

Change agent

Launched by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) in 2018, the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) programme was inaugurated to address three of the most critical safety, health and environment performance issues on its mission towards zero harm while contributing to the decarbonization of the mining industry. Senior programme officer Verónica Martinez discussed its goals, unique collaborations and future with Solid Ground online.

What is your role at the ICSV and what does the programme hope to accomplish?

I lead two of the three workstreams of the ICSV programme and I also lead the climate change working group at ICMM. ICSV addresses the following challenges: introducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040; minimizing the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025; and making collision avoidance technology available to all mining companies by 2025. Essentially this is a change leadership programme, focused on technology development and how existing mines might adapt their operations and how future mines are designed to embrace these technologies.

 

What are the motivations behind each workstream?

If we look at each workstream individually, large mining equipment can currently make up as much as 80 percent of the Scope 1 emissions at a mine site. Access to ore is getting more difficult in mature operations – deposits are becoming deeper and grades are declining – requiring more trucks and longer hauling distances for mining equipment, which will be reflected in an increase of CO2 if we continue business as usual.

With regard to diesel particulate matter (DPM), the WHO has classified DPM as a carcinogen, and exposure to elevated DPM emissions, particularly in underground mining operations, has been linked to negative health effects. The issue is raising the awareness in mining companies, promoting existing technology to minimize DPM emissions and then getting them implemented across industry.

And finally, for the vehicle interaction workstream, transport and mobile equipment accidents accounted for 30 percent of fatalities at ICMM member mines in 2018, the highest cause of fatalities at our member operations. Safe working conditions are a fundamental human right, and ICMM members are committed to strengthening health and safety performance.

Our role is to encourage – not stifle – innovation.

How feasible is it for competitors to collaborate to implement the industry-wide changes you propose? Isn’t this uncommon?

Member collaboration to strengthen the social and environmental performance of the mining and metals industry is a core part of ICMM’s mission, but the ICSV programme is the first time that we are working with external stakeholders in a formal collaborative initiative, with a shared governance of mining companies and OEMs. ICSV is a unique, CEO-led model of collaboration that sends strong market signals to mining equipment suppliers that a large portion of the mining and metals industry is committed to embracing new technology. This builds the widespread confidence needed to accelerate investment in innovation in these three key areas.

All of ICMM’s collaboration operates under anti-competition and antitrust rules. Our role is to convene the parties, motivate action and promote solutions. It does not work on specific solutions, as the programme recognizes that there will be more than one depending on each mine site’s opportunities and constraints. Our role is to encourage – not stifle – innovation.

 

What’s on the horizon for ICSV?

This year, we’re working to get an aggregated industry view of where we are towards the ambition, by using the innovation road maps we have collectively built within the programme. Mining companies will be in a better position to understand the challenges and start adopting technologies or partner with other members and OEMs to develop them.

We are testing an ICSV Knowledge Hub, and we expect that it will become a reference in the industry as a source of technical and practical information for all those companies that want to improve their sustainability performance.