Adriatic Metals, a UK-based firm developing mining projects in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, has named Alex Budden as its first Chief Sustainability Officer.
The London Stock Exchange and Australian Stock Exchange-listed company specialises in precious and base metals exploration and development in the Adriatic region, and is hoping to become a key supplier to European EV manufacturers that may soon look to re-shore their supply chains amidst new sustainability regulations.
Budden’s responsibilities as Chief Sustainability Officer will include government relations, sustainability and ESG issues such environmental services, community relations and energy. A former British diplomat, he has served in a number of external relations roles at energy companies including Africa Oil, Orrön Energy and Harbour Energy.
Since 2022, he has been advising corporate and government leaders on transformation and external relations. He will join Adriatic Metals on February 1, reporting to CEO Paul Cronin.
Commenting on his appointment, Budden said: “Sustainability has been at the core of their business strategy from day one and I am keen to build on this strong foundation and ensure that we continue to play a key role in providing these critical metals, so important for the energy transition, in a sustainable and responsible way.”
Mining companies betting on sustainability
Mining firms across developed economies are increasingly focusing on improving their sustainability credentials as a competitive advantage. Last October, BlackRock advised investors to bet on low-carbon miners, saying they would soon fetch a “green premium” as electric vehicle makers and renewable energy players work to clean up their supply chains.
In Europe, a provisional agreement was reached last month on the corporate sustainability due diligence directive, which is expected to introduce a legal due diligence obligation for more than 16,000 corporations with EU operations – many of which are large buyers of minerals.
Global investors with US$11 trillion in assets under management have also pledged to support the development of a socially and environmentally responsible mining sector by 2030 to ensure that the mineral production ramp-up needed to meet clean economy goals does not lead to environmental or social abuses.
But making mining more sustainable will require radical transparency improvements: a recent study published in Nature found that more than half of the mines visible in satellite images are missing from databases.
“The vast realm of small, artisanal and illegal mines that are not bound by standard reporting requirements is a global problem,” warned the study’s authors.