Blue Cap Mining taps LINE Hydrogen for carbon-neutral mining ambitions at Lord Byron gold project

LINE Hydrogen, an Australian-owned, independent green hydrogen energy company, says it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Blue Cap Mining Pty Ltd to develop the energy requirements for Blue Cap’s Lord Byron gold mine in Western Australia.

The new mining project will be the first carbon-neutral mine in Western Australia and one of only two active mines in Australia to reach the milestone, LINE Hydrogen says.

The project, slated to begin development in early 2023, will see LINE Hydrogen design, develop and operate renewable technologies at the site to replace fossil fuel-based power generation. The renewable technology is highlighted by a green hydrogen production plant to provide green power to the mine operation during non-renewable energy generation periods.

The green hydrogen plant will also provide green hydrogen as a diesel fuel replacement for diesel activities on the site, including mining equipment, generators and vehicles, it said.

With the mining sector accounting for roughly 10% of Australia’s total energy use, consuming around 14.3 billion litres of diesel per year, the switch to green energy will create impactful change.

The company explained: “Rather than burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide, methane and other pollutants into the atmosphere (as is the case for the production of most commercial hydrogen) LINE Hydrogen will be producing green hydrogen. The hydrogen will be produced with 100% renewable energy, using a process called electrolysis, from which the only by-products are drinking water and medical-grade oxygen.”

Brendan James, Founder and Executive Chairman of LINE Hydrogen, said that the project is the culmination of years of work to create green hydrogen solutions that benefit all industries.

“Our partnership with Blue Cap encompasses the vision LINE Hydrogen set out to achieve some sevent-to-eight years ago,” he said. “The partnership will utilise our green hydrogen production, as well as technology designed by LINE to power on-site mining and processing equipment, and on-road heavy haulage. Not only is Blue Cap leading the industry in its ambition of zero-carbon renewable power, this move will, I believe, also lower overall costs of operation, increasing returns from the project.

“For LINE Hydrogen, the partnership provides guaranteed offtake for the latest project in LINE Hydrogen’s portfolio, and also a forward step in supplying green hydrogen into the greater Western Australia goldfields region.”

Project and engineering partners for the project have identified a number of design changes to the traditional processing designs to align energy requirements with renewable supply curves along with changes to mine plans and equipment selection, according to LINE Hydrogen.

The Lord Byron mine is expected to operate at a throughput of around 1.2 Mt/y, and, with the incorporation of renewable power and green hydrogen producing circa 49 GW/y of power, displace around 13.2 million litres of diesel per year that would typically be consumed in the course of normal operations, according to the companies.

Ashley Fraser, Managing Director of Blue Cap Mining Pty Ltd, said: “The responsibility for change within our industry is with us as participants and producers.

“As a relatively small industry participant, we are leveraging our corporate agility and can-do attitude to adapt faster and more efficiently. With LINE Hydrogen as a partner in this project, we will explore, develop and accelerate our renewable energy use aspirations, displacing the alternative of fossil fuels with the added benefit of potentially lowering our cost of production quite significantly.

“It is expected that the project will complete the prefeasibility phase by the end of 2022, with bankable feasibility status milestones set for 2023 and construction likely to begin within an 18-month period.”