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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Greenhouse gas emissions in mining operations : challenges and opportunities in British Columbia, Canada Ballantyne, Sheila Marie


This research explores how the mining industry of British Columbia is currently managing greenhouse gases (GHG) and seeks to understand regulations designed to limit emissions. The objective is to recommend options and approaches for effective GHG management strategies for the mining industry of British Columbia. Three research approaches are utilised; a review on the current state of GHG policies and technical options, an assessment of how the mining industry is managing GHG issues using content analysis, and modelled scenarios to illustrate some of the influences on overall emissions from a typical mine in British Columbia. This research is initiated through a review on proposed GHG polices with influence on industry in British Columbia. This review also discusses recent trends in GHG and fossil fuel dependency. The options available to meet emissions reductions are outlined, including economic tools and technology adoption. This review is a platform from which the mining industry of British Columbia can move forward in effective GHG management. An analysis of documents published by mining firms operating in British Columbia reveals trends in their reporting of GHG related issues. The hypothesis posed is that while there are no reductions observed in GHG emissions, companies perceive an incentive to release qualitative information on the subject. The results of the analysis show an increase in qualitative reporting related to climate change since 2001, which may be in response to growing public awareness and impending governmental policies. Opportunities for GHG reductions for typical mines in British Columbia are explored using dynamic models. Systematic changes illustrate various scenarios of net emissions over time. It shows that small changes in transport and fuel types can cause significant reductions on mining emissions. This research recommends that mining firms become proactive in response to GHG emissions polices; delayed preparation may result in increased opportunity costs. It suggests operational decisions use predicted GHG prices in cost-benefit analyses. Action now will prepare the mining industry for impending regulations with the added potential benefits of reduced fuel costs and improving environmental performance.

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