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Canada’s 1st Carbon Neutral Gold Project

Mayfair Gold is aiming to be the first carbon neutral gold project in Canada by using carbon credits to offset their project in Ontario.

The Canadian mineral exploration company is focused on sustainably advancing its 100% owned Fenn-Gib gold project in the Timmins region of Northern Ontario.

The firm stated that its Fenn-Gib venture is now Canada’s first carbon neutral gold project. And that’s after Mayfair completed its carbon credit purchases to offset its 2021 emissions, its first year of operations.

Carbon Credits for Mayfair’s Gold Project Emissions

A Toronto-based company Carbonzero conducted an independent assessment of Mayfair’s CO2-equivalent GHG emissions in 2021.

Carbonzero focuses on the design and implementation of corporate carbon reduction strategies and solutions. It helps firms measure, report, and reduce their emission.

Carbonzero revealed that Mayfair emitted 738 tons of CO2e. In particular, the assessment covers the company’s total emissions. These include Scope 1, Scope 2, and material Scope 3 emissions.

The emissions were mainly related to Mayfair’s exploration activities at Fenn-Gib, where a total of 54,741m was drilled in 89 holes.

The Fenn-Gib project comprises ~4,800ha, of which more than 75% is unexplored. It contains 2.08 million ounces of indicated gold resources (NI43-101).

Mayfair Gold hopes to raise gold deposit size to 3 million ounces. 

To compensate for Fenn-Gib’s emissions, Mayfair bought carbon offsets from the Thermal Residential Heating Aggregation Project.

Carbon offsets are tradeable certificates (or credits) issued to an emitter when CO2 is removed from (or prevented from getting emitted into) the atmosphere.

The carbon credits Mayfair bought offset its Fenn-Gib gold project 2021 emissions.

The Thermal Residential Heating Aggregation Project replaces traditional residential fossil fuel combustion heating with solar-powered heating systems.

Private residences and other facilities are using the project’s solar heating systems across Canada. And the offsets it generates correspond to the amount of CO2e emissions avoided from getting into the air.

The offsets are being retired on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Clean CleanProjects Registry.

Gold: The Most Valued Mined Commodity

Gold is one of the top exports by value for many countries around the world. In developing nations, a growing gold sector results in positive economic effects. These include royalty payments and tax revenues, employment, and business opportunities for local communities.

The gold industry is a key driver of economic activity in Canada and it employs around 400,000 Canadians. It also provides the highest average annual industrial rate of pay in the country as per Mayfair’s CEO Patrick Evans. He said that:

“Gold is Canada’s most valuable mined commodity, valued in excess of $12 billion annually… The future of the industry depends critically upon sustainable development. At Fenn-Gib, we are laying the foundation for Canada’s first carbon neutral gold mine.”

He also added that Mayfair’s commitment started when the firm acquired Fenn-Gib. The firm will continue through its exploration, mine development, operations, and eventual closure.

But GHG emissions from gold mining activities still pose serious climate concerns.

Estimated emissions for the global gold market are around 126.4 Mt CO2-e a year. This equates to the emissions intensity of 28,700 kg CO2-e/kg gold for Scopes 1 and 2.

The major factor for the increasing emissions of gold over time is declining gold ore grades.

The chart below plots the projected progress of gold miners in reducing emissions intensity to 2030. The forecast is against the reductions necessary to align with 2°C and 1.5°C climate goals.

gold mining emissions 2030

Even if gold mining emissions are not that huge, still gold producers seek ways to offset their carbon footprint to help fight climate change.

Mayfair’s carbon credits purchase for offsetting its gold project is one among the many other initiatives in the industry.

Australian-based Karora Resources has also announced reaching its carbon neutrality in 2021. The multi-asset mineral resource company also bought and retired verified carbon offset credits.

Mayfair Gold plans to provide a resource update in the third quarter of this year. While the preliminary economic assessment of its Fenn-Gib project will be over by the last quarter.

Mayfair successfully completed its metallurgical testing last March. It also confirms that the Fenn-Gib deposit can deliver robust gold recoveries. And that’s through both whole ore cyanidation (84.3% recoveries) and flotation (94% recoveries).

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