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Reducing Oil Burning and GHG Emissions from Mining: A Win-Win Policy for Chile’s Copper Sector

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Document pages: 26 pages

Abstract: This study estimate, for the very first time, the total amount of diesel oil burned and of the greenhouse gas emissions associated to this combustion due to the transportation of overburden present in copper concentrates exported from Chile to the world. Using official data from 2014, we estimate the oil burned and the preventable CO2 emissions unnecessarily released into the global atmosphere that year as a result of not refining the copper in Chile and exporting it in the form of copper concentrates. We calculate the distance of nautical routes (origin-destination) used for all concentrate shipments that were exported in 2014. In addition, the estimates show a sensitivity analysis for 4 scenarios, resulting from considering two values for each of two parameters with uncertain values: i) the ships’ fuel consumption for ore transportation; and ii) the actual distance traveled by these ships. For the two extreme scenarios considered, we estimate the unjustified combustion of diesel oil in 516 to 721 million tons, in the year 2014, and the preventable CO2 emissions in 1.5 to 2.0 million tons of CO2. From an environmental policy perspective, these results are highly relevant for Chile because they imply that its mining sector could easily meet the goal committed by Chile for 2030 of reducing 30 of its emissions per GDP unit compared with the level achieved in 2007.

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