Last year’s survey was dominated by environmental, social and governance (ESG), which was seen by 46% of respondents as the key risk, followed by COVID-19 (21%).
ESG remained the top risk for 2022, but only for 24% of respondents.
“The mining industry has found itself caught between two competing themes when it comes to ESG,” White & Case said.
“On one side comes the continued pressure from mining fossil fuels and the recent disasters that have done considerable damage to the entire industry’s reputation, such as the fatal dam collapse in Brazil and the destruction of ancient aboriginal heritage sites in Australia.
“More positively, however, is how the industry has become increasingly adept at making the argument that it is becoming a far cleaner—and more sustainable sector, and with this improved ESG performance—it can be a reliable and trusted partner to mine the materials that will enable the green transition.
“This shift opens up opportunities for the industry going forward, provided individual players can demonstrate their ESG credentials in all respects.”
Resource nationalism, which was only the top risk for 7% in 2021, jumped to second place this year (18%), with 39% expecting Latin America to be the region most affected.
Climate change regulation and shareholder activism and supply chain disruption/labour shortages were new entries and the key concern for 16% and 15% of respondents, respectively.
The Chinese slowdown was concerning to 11% of those surveyed, with energy costs and inflation the biggest risk for 9%.
Respondents were asked what was most likely to keep non-specialist institutional capital invested in the mining sector.