Welcome to the latest issue of MINE Magazine.

This month, we investigate the copper supply chain, and ask if the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought irreversible damage to one of the world’s most important minerals. With long-standing inequalities in copper distribution only exasperated by years of financial and logistical uncertainty, serious questions remain for those involved in the production and trade of this base metal. 

Yet answers are slowly emerging. From new forms of analysis that make heavy use of data to ensure supply chain efficiencies, to the slow embrace of a circular economy that makes the most of copper’s recyclable nature, there is hope that the copper supply chain can rebound from a difficult few years. The only uncertainty is how quickly this recovery will take place. 

Elsewhere, we ask if mining can ever be done in a responsible manner, from a range of angles. From the inherent challenges of meeting ESG targets in an inherently destructive industry to the looming threat of miners’ scope three emissions, mining majors are under greater scrutiny than ever to ensure their work is sustainable. How can industry players minimise their social and environmental footprints? 

We also dig into a new tailings management system, and a new impact assessment tool, to ask how miners can best learn from the sector’s chequered past with regard to safety and sustainability. Initiatives such as these have great potential to change the priorities of the mining industry, if only these prospects can be realised. 

For all this, plus our usual selection of news and analysis, and the latest from Ukraine, read on.

JP Casey, editor