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Insights Why I Chose Engineering Net Zero: A Mining Engineer's Perspective

Climate change dominates contemporary discussions, with nations globally setting ambitious targets to reach a net-zero economy. Yet, there remains a gaping void in our collective understanding - the indispensable role that mining will play in achieving this net-zero future. To transition to clean energy technologies and infrastructure, we need materials like copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and graphite - all mining products.

Meet Graham Bonn, Mining Engineer in Vancouver, Canada

As a mining engineer passionate about improving the industry's impact, I'm often disappointed by the lack of knowledge and education about mining. Many individuals still perceive mining as a "dirty" industry that creates more harm than good. However, well-planned and managed operations can create exceptional sustained value for stakeholders and local and Indigenous communities while achieving environmental excellence.

At the end of the day, I want to promote the importance of mining and be part of making the industry more sustainable and innovative; the ENZ space is one such avenue to do so.

My Role in Engineering Net Zero

Photo of Rebecca smiling towards the camera

At AtkinsRéalis’ Mining & Metallurgy group, I'm actively involved in advancing decarbonization and net-zero solutions in mining. My responsibilities include formulating a strategic plan to steer the ENZ direction for the Mining & Metallurgy sector, collaborating with other ENZ professionals across the company, and advocating for mining's role in net-zero.

Unveiling the Work of the Mining & Metallurgy Group

Our team provides a huge range of services to mining and metals companies worldwide. We collaborate with our clients to provide solutions supporting their sustainability objectives, ranging from optimizing small processing plants to managing greenfield and brownfield mining projects' engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM). Additionally, we are engaged in several critical minerals initiatives, such as the Moblan Lithium project in Quebec, owned by Sayona Mining, which will generate high-quality, secure Canadian lithium for developing energy storage technologies, including electric vehicles.

Moreover, our technical professionals constantly push the boundaries in research, best practices, and thought leadership. For instance, members of our pyrometallurgy group contributed to a technical paper discussing the application of green hydrogen in steel production, which was presented at the 2022 Conference of Metallurgists.

How My Team Inspires Me

The Mining & Metallurgy group thrives on open discussion and collaborative thinking. From the leadership team to the technical professionals and everyone in between – our approach to problem-solving is truly collaborative, ensuring we can deliver what's right for people and the environment.

Our focus on sustainable mining solutions is also inspiring. These solutions could include helping our clients decarbonize their operations or, more generally, high-quality environmental and sustainability work critical to minimizing the impact of mining and metals production. Things like environmental risk and impact assessments, stakeholder engagement, tailings facility management, or water treatment & management.

Breathing Life into My Passion for Engineering Net Zero

One of the essential factors in achieving a net-zero future is collaboration. For example, no one has all the answers to decarbonizing the mining and metals industry. Therefore, bringing suppliers, manufacturers, consultants, and operators together is critical to share ideas that will advance the whole industry. Looking forward, I strive to be a leader who brings these people together to push progress as a collective.

As I approach a decade in the mining industry, I appreciate the importance of diverse thought. So, when it comes to ENZ, I look forward to continuing to learn from others, sharing those learnings, and advocating for solutions that will positively impact progress toward reducing emissions.

My Concerns for the Future

My biggest concern is that we move too slowly in our collective actions toward net zero. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change with more frequent extreme weather events. Like intense heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and floods around the world, leading to widespread damage to infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods.

Why I Believe in AtkinsRéalis

Despite these challenges, I'm confident that AtkinsRéalis can make a tangible difference. We have a compelling purpose of "engineering a better future for our planet and its people," coupled with strong technical expertise from individuals passionate about net zero. Our global capabilities span sectors, industries, and geographies, enabling us to support our clients with any decarbonization challenge.

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