World Environment Day 2024: Nuton’s Heap Leaching Technology Aligns with United Nations’ Goals

June 4, 2024

“News stories of hurricanes and wildfires, droughts and floods are everywhere. It’s easy to feel paralyzed or give up.” Despite the headlines, Cecilia Perla is optimistic. “We need to pay attention to the problem, but also direct our efforts into action rather than despair.”

She’s spent over a decade reshaping copper analysis and decarbonization, and contributing her expertise to governments, universities and NGOs worldwide. And as the United Nations recognizes World Environment Day this June, there’s no better time than now to be enthusiastic about the future of ecosystem restoration.

Cecilia Perla, Sustainability VP at Nuton Technologies, is spearheading efforts to establish a more sustainable future for the copper mining industry.

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Applied to Copper Mining

Perla, the Sustainability VP for Nuton Technologies, sees good things ahead. “We need to double down on humanity’s capacity to change, our creativity and what Hannah Ritchie calls ‘pragmatic optimism’,” she says referring to sustainability data scientist, researcher and author of the 2024 book, Not the End of the World: How Can We Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet. Recognized by Bill Gates as “eye-opening and essential,” Ritchie’s book points to progress made in lowering carbon emissions, deforestation and air quality. “She’s a glass-half-full type of person, just like me.”

Though for Nuton this is a year-round effort, the U.N.’s World Environment Day in June provides an opportunity to showcase how the mining industry — historically associated with environmental degradation — can become a key innovator for ecosystem restoration.

Nuton’s heap leaching technology, in particular, is a source of great hope in the efforts to find new ways to produce copper with a lower environmental footprint. Nuton embraces a ground-up-to-global mindset for copper extraction driven by a company ethos of sustainability and alignment with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

 “We must have a vision of what the post-mining land use for the site is and how we get there,” says Perla referring to Nuton’s ambition to accelerate opportunities for land restoration, one of the five pillars of Positive Impact Strategy. “In the big scheme of things, mining is a temporary land use. We should keep an open mind about what it can become once mining concludes.”

Along with land, Nuton’s Positive Impact Strategy encompasses four additional pillars—water, energy, materials, and society. “This year, we are seeing Nuton germinate, having announced the first industrial-scale deployment of our technology at the Johnson Camp Mine, owned and operated by our partner Excelsior Mining,” Perla says. “We will have more exciting news to share as we mature as a venture and show our partners and the market the full value of Nuton technologies.”

The World Environment Day 2024 Motto: #GenerationRestoration

This year’s World Environment Day focuses on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience under the slogan, “Our land. Our future. We are #GenerationRestoration.”

The United Nations sponsors World Environment Day to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.

Since 1973, World Environment Day has been the largest global platform for environmental public outreach. Its mission reads, “To keep global warming below 1.5°C [34.7°F] this century, we must cut annual greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 percent within the decade, and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040.”

The Future of Sustainable Copper Mining Is Gaining Traction

Nuton is right in line with #GenerationRestoration, this year’s motto for World Environment Day. According to Perla, “Nuton is built on this spirit. Here’s a new technology unlocking opportunities to meet copper demand with a much lighter footprint and less stress on our planet than conventional copper processing technologies.”

As for the future of sustainable copper mining? It´s on its way. Here’s how Nuton’s heap leaching technology already alleviates environmental impact and increases profits.

Lighter Environmental Impact to Meet Copper Demand

It’s simple, according to Perla. “Nuton exists because we need to produce more copper, but we need to do it more sustainably. We focus not only in the what, but also on the how copper is produced.”

“The vast majority of copper comes from primary sulfides, which traditionally go through a process of concentration, smelting and refining,” she says. “Nuton technologies provide an alternative to leaching copper sulfide ores with the help of our carefully cultivated bacteria and unique catalysts and reagents.”

Stronger Economic Impact for Sustainable Copper Mining

Nuton’s ambition to produce copper with a lower carbon footprint, while conserving water, energy, and costs, aligns with the goals of World Environment Day.

World Environment Day 2024 is just one day this summer. But thanks to Perla and the Nuton team, ecosystem restoration and conservation is an everyday ambition.