Alexander Mashkevich, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurasian Resources Group (ERG)

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) is a group of companies covering the production facilities in 15 countries all over the world. And each of the many enterprises must undergo the modernisation process in compliance with the current environmental and production requirements.

“In total, ERG has invested over $13.7 billion in the development and environmental transformation of the enterprises,” says Alexander Mashkevich, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), “and this figure increases every year as new solutions are implemented.”

Industrial manufacturing is an energy-intensive process generating a large amount of emissions. And this task requires being constantly addressed to comply with the global plan for decarbonisation and climate neutrality.

Energy efficiency solutions are implemented to reduce energy consumption. In particular, ERG enterprises – EAC, Kazchrome, SSGPO – install automation systems to regulate fuel supply and monitoring systems, stabilisation systems for optimal operation of electric furnaces, lighting optimisation systems; large-scale thermal insulation works are performed on a regular basis.

Altogether, these solutions make it possible to significantly reduce energy consumption from traditional sources and further reduce the carbon footprint at the enterprises.

Energy from renewable sources will replace the traditional one

The Group’s nearest plans are to increase the number of measures related to the energy efficiency program implementation and increase the pace of developing projects on producing electricity from renewable sources.

“First, RES is a direct route to zero emissions. Nowadays, there is only one reason why they are expensive – there aren’t enough generating facilities and they must be built absolutely from scratch.” says Mashkevich, “But before RES completely replaces the traditional energy, we use alternative solutions that have already had a positive impact on the environment and on product quality in the context of the carbon footprint presence.”

ERG is developing the energy production projects based on ferroalloy gas. It is generated as a by-product of ferroalloy production at Aksuskiy and Aktyubinskiy ferroalloy plants. Accordingly, such an uncommon approach enables the Group to make a significant contribution to the emission reduction.

Analytical centre and monitoring will speed up decarbonisation

ERG’s analytical centre will make it possible to speed up the decarbonisation not only at the Group’s enterprises. This experience can be scaled to industries that require environmental transformation.

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To make up a broad picture of how the carbon footprint is formed and what role it plays in the production chain, completely new monitoring solutions must be applied.

Back in 2020, the World Economic Forum announced the launch of a programme to track emissions and carbon footprint in the entire supply chain at mining and smelting enterprises. Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative (MMBI) appeared from the collaboration between the WEF and the largest market players including ERG.

To solve the problem of tracking emissions, it was decided to use blockchain technology. To accurately measure the carbon footprint of products from the manufacturer to delivery to the end user, all the data must be collected in a single system, and cryptographic tools must be used for collecting and analyzing the information.

“Such solutions encounter certain difficulties," says Mashkevich. “Technically, it is not difficult to develop the system. It is difficult to bring it to uniform standards by which such monitoring will be performed. After all, there are still no strict standards in the industry on tracking emissions. By applying different standards, we simply delay the decarbonisation process. Therefore, I always talk about the need to negotiate and come to a common understanding," Mashkevich concludes.

Waste management is like an independent industry

Industry is traditionally perceived as the main polluter. But it should be mentioned that according to the most pessimistic estimates, the worldwide emission level in the mining and smelting industry doesn’t exceed 7 per cent. And these emissions aren’t the biggest problem.

The waste management process requires attention as well. In this regard, ERG has an entire strategic direction, which includes improving the local community’s well-being in the regions of its presence, and compliance with the international standards for the water, air and soil quality, as well as disposal of all products remaining after developing the deposits.

Waste management is treated through the concept of useful application. For example, it is possible to produce cement from slag rubble, from ferrochrome slags in particular; dust and ash are applicable for producing building materials, ash-polymer building materials, coal foam, fertilizers from weathered coal.

“We always strive to find opportunities in any difficult areas. And we are doing quite well considering the scalability and the eco-friendliness level of our production facilities," Mashkevich adds.