Russia-based gold mining major Polyus has acquired I-REC green certificates to offset emissions from the remaining share of its energy consumption not yet directly met by renewable energy sources.

Combined with the large-scale hydropower supply contracts Polyus signed earlier this year, the company stated this means it now covers 100% of its electricity demand with renewable energy. It also previously reported that 93% of water used in its operations now originates from a closed-loop water recycling system.

I-REC certificates represent documented records of certain amounts of energy produced from renewable sources. The certificates can be issued by energy producers and purchased by third-party legal entities. I-REC certificates are a standardised and globally recognised mechanism to compensate for emissions and support the advancement of renewable energy.

The certificates acquired by Polyus for the March 2021 quarter represent a total of 303.5GWh produced from renewable energy sources.

Acting as the certificate issuers are the Russian power companies TGC-1, with its Nizhne-Svirskaya HPP-9 and Verkhne-Svirskaya HPP-12 generating facilities, and Vitimenergosbyt with its Mamakanskaya HPP generating facility.

The transaction with TGC-1 was conducted on the Sberbank blockchain laboratory's cloud platform, where transactions with such certificates are recorded.

Polyus intends to continue to purchase I-REC certificates to fully offset energy consumed from non-renewable sources. In this way, the group intends to cover 100% of the electricity it consumes via direct green energy supply and the purchase of I-REC certificates.

The company said that acquiring green certificates represents one of the mechanisms for implementing its long-term transition to renewable energy, as part of its decarbonisation pathway. Polyus is currently developing its climate strategy which will comprise a set of measures related to renewable energy.

The company expects the number of I-REC certificates purchased to decline starting in the June 2021 quarter following the recent agreement for the supply of environmentally friendly electricity generated by the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant to Polyus' Krasnoyarsk business unit.

Pavel Grachev, CEO of Polyus, commented: "Polyus has now become the first major gold mining company globally to cover all of its electricity needs with renewable energy sources."

Vadim Vederchik, managing director of TGC-1, said: "TGC-1's power generating assets include both cogeneration power plants and hydropower plants, effectively combining their advantages. The CO2-free electricity generated by our hydropower plants supports our partners in delivering their sustainable development strategies: decarbonising their production, ensuring compliance with environmental standards, and minimising exposure to carbon taxes when exporting products to Europe."

Alexander Vedyakhin, first deputy chairman of the management board of Sberbank, added: "The agreement between Polyus and TGC-1 demonstrates that using certificates to make energy consumption greener has become both convenient and popular.."