Bellevue Gold Ltd (ASX:BGL) has set the ambitious target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2026, and believes there could be a future market for net zero emissions gold produced at its flagship project.

With the increase in extreme climate events globally and growing international consensus on the need to act, sustainability has become a key focus for governments, investors, and organisations around the world.

In a recent ASX announcement, the gold producer said this market could increase demand for gold produced at the Bellevue project and potentially attract a premium.

BGL said it can achieve financial benefits for the company and shareholders through producing a premium ‘green’ gold as well as mine efficiencies that will reduce carbon emissions.

Hoping to become an industry leader

“In an effort to link sustainability to profitability, Bellevue is looking to be an industry leader by offering external stakeholders the option to purchase certified ‘net zero emissions gold’ which will put Bellevue ahead of any of our peers in this space and at the forefront of the sector,” the company said.

“In the future Bellevue could look to provide such a platform via an online auction process or offtake or a sales agreement to test the market to offer ‘net zero emissions gold’ at a potential premium to the spot market.”

“An example could be targeting European buyers on the back of the European Green Deal.”

“This will be externally verified, such as through use of assurance or the Climate Active verification.”

Efficiency-based initiatives

Efficiency-based initiatives, it said, include smart blasting, energy efficient grinding, variable speed drive motors / high efficiency motors, improving driver practices, automation, and maintenance procedures.

“Such initiatives, as well as reducing energy use and carbon emissions, will result in a reduction in mining costs,” Bellevue said.

“The purchase of carbon offsets is not intended to be the company’s primary strategy for achieving net zero emissions.”

To achieve its net zero emissions Bellevue said it plans to use renewable energy on site and is in advanced discussions with fuel suppliers and Independent Power Providers (IPPs) regarding innovative options with a high renewable energy penetration.

Sustainability performance rights

The company is also proposing to introduce a one-off net zero emissions incentive through sustainability performance rights.

Bellevue said in its aims to be “ahead of the curve” and it believes the sustainability performance rights will ensure alignment, with executives being “incentivised” to achieve this ambition.

It said: “On Bellevue’s pathway to reducing carbon emissions, the company will be focussed on not sacrificing profitability to do so.”

“Bellevue hopes to become a beacon, to lead in our own right, and to prove to the gold sector what is possible in responding to climate change and truly creating a sustainable and highly profitable gold mine.”

BGL highlighted that the intent of these sustainability performance rights is for the incentive for the Bellevue Gold Project to “proactively avoid, then reduce and offset the project’s scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Bellevue is also investigating the quantification of the upstream and downstream scope 3 emissions” it said, but the target to reach net zero emissions does not include scope 3 emissions.

Other gold miners reducing emissions

The mining sector is quickly adopting climate action plans and net zero commitments for scope 1 and scope 2 emissions.

Emission reduction targets have also been defined by several other large gold companies including Newmont (ASX:NEM), Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), Northern Star (ASX:NST), and St Barbara (ASX:SBM).