How Geophysics has a Role to Play in Supporting a Sustainable Mining Industry
In January 2016, the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, officially came into force. It is the intent of the UN, that the SDGs provide a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” and that “the Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”
The UN defined a Decade of Action, and our journey within the decade is rapidly accelerating as we increase our focus on Sustainability within the global mining industry. Sustainability is no longer an addendum to how we operate, but it is an expectation that all global resource companies should be leading in Sustainability. As Resource Professionals, we are ideally placed to guide and support sustainable resource exploration and environmental management through innovation and technology.
Geophysics has had an enduring influence on society and has demonstrated its ability to grow and adapt to a variety of challenges. As a science, the term “geophysics” was first used in Germany in the mid 1800’s. Since then, geophysics has been a key contributor to society being applied in world wars, it has endured commodity cycles and changing community expectations and has seen a rapid acceleration of technology. Geophysics has been part of the sciences that attempt to unravel how we humans interact with the planet from water to energy, mineral resources, and natural hazard management and is an invaluable discipline to assist in integrating sustainability into the mining life cycle.
Andrea Rutley leads Anglo American’s Geoscience Group and is responsible for exploration, geological and geophysical integration, geoscience modelling and operational geology across the Steelmaking Coal Business, which has included experience in Australia, South Africa, Botswana and Canada. Prior to her current role, Andrea held the role of Head of Safety and Sustainable Development where she was responsible for safety, health, environment and sustainable development for Steelmaking Coal. With a background in geophysics and geology, she began her career in seismic interpretation for the coal industry, before moving into base metals exploration with BHP, Mt Isa Mines and Xstrata and has also led a multidisciplinary Environmental Engineering / Geoscience team within a major international engineering and environmental consultancy. Andrea has a BSc (Hons) degree with a major in Geology and Post Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education and in 2017-2018 was the President of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists.