Tag Archives: decarbonisation

Rio Tinto and Shougang Group collaborating on low-carbon steelmaking solutions

Rio Tinto and Shougang Group, one of the world’s top 10 steel producers, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote research, design and implementation of low-carbon solutions for the steel value chain.

The MoU’s focus areas include low-carbon sintering technology, blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) optimisation, and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).

This partnership with Shougang underlines Rio Tinto’s strategic commitment to partner with customers on steel decarbonisation pathways and to invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in steelmaking carbon intensity, it said.

Initial efforts will be focused on, but not limited to, BF slag heat recovery, BOF slag utilisation, CCU and low-carbon sintering technology.

The MoU builds on the nearly 30-year relationship between Rio Tinto and Shougang as trade and technical partners. The two companies will work together, leveraging their respective strengths in research and development, technologies, processes, equipment, logistics and industry coordination to support their shared objectives of limiting the impacts of global climate change and reducing carbon emissions, Rio said.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios (pictured), said: “Steel is a vital material for economic growth and low-carbon infrastructure. At Rio Tinto, we want to play a strong role as an industry partner to support the decarbonisation of steel. We are delighted to be able to extend our partnership with Shougang to jointly work towards our shared vision of a ‘greener’ steel value chain.”

Wang Jianwei, Vice President of Shougang Group, added: “Green and low-carbon transition and upgrading is the only way for high-quality and sustainable development of the steel industry. The cooperation between Shougang Group and Rio Tinto Group to develop low-carbon generic technologies for the steel sector and explore decarbonisation solutions is a positive move for both sides to cooperate and promote low-carbon technology innovation.”

Fortescue pledges $6.2bn of decarbonisation investment on way to producing carbon-free iron ore

Fortescue Metals Group’s decarbonisation plans have stepped up a gear, with the company announcing it intends to eliminate fossil fuel use and achieve “real zero” terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across its iron ore operations by 2030 with a $6.2 billion capital investment.

The investment, the company says, will eliminate Fortescue’s fossil fuel risk profile and enable it to supply its customers with a “carbon-free” product.

“Real zero” refers to no fossil fuels and, wherever possible, no offsets, the company explained. Under the use of the term, offsets must only be used as a temporary solution while the technology or innovation required to completely decarbonise is developed.

Fortescue’s strategy will see the company lead the market in terms of its response to growing customer, community and investor expectations to reduce/eliminate carbon emissions, it said.

“Fortescue expects to generate attractive economic returns from its investment arising from the operating cost savings due to the elimination of diesel, natural gas, and carbon offset purchases from its supply chain,” it added. “Fortescue is well positioned to capitalise on first-mover advantage and the ability to commercialise decarbonisation technologies.”

Fortescue made the announcement at the invitation of US President Biden’s First Movers Coalition and the United Nations Global Compact, with the Secretary General of the United Nations at the CEO roundtable on “Business leadership to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Fortescue also announced that the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) will verify and audit its emissions reduction. This technical auditing initiative was instituted to ensure companies reach their Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Fortescue says its decarbonisation journey started on the commencement of the first major trip on August 25, 2020, during the advent of COVID-19 to secure technology, demand and resources for the green energy ecosystem. It consolidated further at the successful completion of the 100-day sprint to create the world’s first mining truck to run on hydrogen (a FCEV).

When fully implemented, Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy and associated investment will provide significant environmental and economic returns by 2030, including:

  • Avoidance of 3 Mt of CO2-equivalent emissions per year;
  • Net operating cost savings of $818 million per year from 2030, at prevailing market prices of diesel, gas and Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs);
  • Cumulative operating cost savings of $3 billion by 2030 and payback of capital by 2034, at prevailing market prices;
  • Elimination of Fortescue’s exposure to fossil fuels and associated fossil fuel price volatility which, in turn, will de-risk the operating cost profile;
  • Removal of the company’s exposure to price risks associated with relying on carbon offsets as well as carbon tax regulatory risk;
  • Establish a significant new green growth opportunity by producing a carbon-free iron ore product and through the commercialisation of decarbonisation technologies;
  • Ensuring future access to green driven capital markets.

Fortescue’s capital estimate of $6.2 billion is expected to see the investment largely planned in the company’s 2024-2028 financial years. This investment includes the deployment of an additional 2-3 GW of renewable energy generation and battery storage and the estimated incremental costs associated with a green mining fleet and locomotives.

The capital expenditure to purchase the fleet will be aligned with the scheduled asset replacement life cycle and included in Fortescue’s sustaining capital expenditure. Studies are underway to optimise the localised wind and solar resources.

The investment is expected to generate a positive net present value through enabling the displacement of approximately 700 million litres of diesel and 15 million GJ of gas per year by 2030, as well as the associated reduction in CO 2 emissions.

Fortescue Executive Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said: “There’s no doubt that the energy landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years and this change has accelerated since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“We are already seeing direct benefits of the transition away from fossil fuels – we avoided 78 million litres of diesel usage at our Chichester Hub in financial year 2022 – but we must accelerate our transition to the post fossil fuel era, driving global scale industrial change as climate change continues to worsen. It will also protect our cost base, enhance our margins and set an example that a post fossil fuel era is good commercial, common sense.

“Fortescue, FFI and FMG are moving at speed to transition into a global green metals, minerals, energy and technology company, capable of delivering not just green iron ore but also the minerals, knowledge and technology critical to the energy transition.

“Consistent with Fortescue’s disciplined approach to capital allocation, this investment in renewable energy and decarbonisation is expected to generate attractive economic returns for our shareholders through energy cost savings and a sharp reduction in carbon offset purchases, together with a lower risk cost profile and improvement in the integrity of our assets.”

Fortescue has already made significant effort in decarbonising its iron ore operations through its successful green fleet trials and innovation, acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and its partnership with Liebherr in June this year. Building on Fortescue’s announcement in March 2022 to develop with FFI and WAE the world’s first regenerating battery electric iron ore train, feasibility studies are progressing, with delivery of the first parabolic (gravity powered) drive trains to the Infinity locomotives scheduled to be operational by the end of 2026.

Shell on the future of fuel switching

Mark Hannan, General Manager for Mining Decarbonisation at Shell, explores how mining operators can switch their fleets from diesel to low-carbon fuels as part of a wider transition to zero-carbon fuels.

The mining industry is in need of decarbonisation but delivering change at pace is a real challenge. There is huge pressure to achieve this when, it is estimated, 10% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from primary minerals and metals production, according to Nature Geoscience Magazine (2020).

For a mining company to achieve their decarbonisation goals, it is beneficial to maximise the benefits in the short term while providing greater flexibility for the long term. One such area that offers opportunities for this is fuel switching in mining fleets.

Decarbonisation drives the need for alternative fuels

No matter what stage a mining business has reached on its pathway to decarbonisation, it is important to review how its mobile assets impact the environment. McKinsey shows that between 40-50% of CO2 emissions in mining come from the diesel used for mobile assets.

Due to concerns around diesel fumes in confined spaces, the problem is largely being solved in underground sites – with some due to run entirely on battery-electric assets in the near term. In open-pit mines, where equipment is larger, emissions from diesel fuel are a challenge still to overcome, which is why fuel switching is essential to decarbonisation.

However, there are still many elements to consider when making the business case for alternative fuels. This includes the performance of alternative fuels in comparison with diesel, the capital investment needed to implement them and how widely available they are. That is before analysing the benefits of meeting emissions targets against the higher cost of using low-carbon fuels.

A net-zero future is coming, but it is not here yet

In the longer term, there are two diesel alternatives that will offer key routes to effective fuel switching: hydrogen and electricity.

Hydrogen is set to play a significant role in the decarbonisation of every industry – not least those featuring hard-to-abate sectors like mining. As well as reducing emissions in overall energy use across sites, hydrogen will provide a low-carbon alternative to diesel that also delivers higher energy density to drive the performance of mobile assets.

Government support for hydrogen power is growing rapidly and it is an area in which Shell is working closely with customers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to drive innovation and deliver supply at scale. However, with hydrogen supply dependent on elements such as the availability and cost of technology, land, water, storage and transport, it is an alternative that will only start to present real impact from 2030 and beyond.

For off-highway equipment in mining, fleet electrification is often seen as a more relevant near-term solution. This is not surprising as electric power can not only contribute to reduced emissions but also help businesses shift away from their exposure to volatile diesel prices – potentially leading to a positive impact on total cost of ownership (TCO).

To help deliver on the mining industry’s longer-term aspirations for fleet electrification, Shell is developing a suite of modular end-to-end solutions for mining heavy-duty vehicles that decarbonises haul trucks while minimising the operational impact of electrification in a scalable, interoperable and sustainable way.

When looking to make the switch to electrification, mining companies must address the significant escalation in power demand that would come with full-scale electrification. Also, they will want to know the electricity is generated from renewable sources – helping them to reduce their Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Electrification powered by renewable energy will be a significant driver of change for mining sites, which is why Shell is working to overcome the barriers to increasing its renewable capacity – such as the need for upgrades to the grid and storage capabilities.

Low-carbon fuels offer an immediate next step for mining businesses

Hydrogen and electrification represent the future of fuel for mobility in mining. But, in the short term, there is another alternative that can act as a transition fuel and help lower emissions while businesses wait for hydrogen and electricity to become viable at scale: low-carbon fuels.

There are two types of low-carbon fuels relevant to mobility in mining:

  • Biodiesel – also known as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME); and
  • Renewable diesel – also known as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

Though both are derived from organic biomass like waste vegetable oils and animal fats, there are differences in their chemical composition owing to a different manufacturing process that impact their use. For instance, biodiesel is the more affordable choice, yet most OEMs place a limit on the percentage it is possible to blend with conventional diesel due to quality concerns such as storage stability and performance in cold temperatures. Renewable diesel more closely resembles the composition of conventional diesel, meaning it can be blended in any ratio up to a concentration of 100%, but is more expensive due to the complexity in refinery processing. Crucially, both fuels offer a route to emissions reduction in mining – and a combination of the two is likely to be needed.

These low-carbon fuels offer a more immediate solution to the challenges of fleet decarbonisation in mining, without making costly investments in infrastructure. Not only can they be used in existing heavy-duty diesel engines, but, as long as they are in accordance with manufacturer advice, they also require no infrastructure investment. This makes them a more affordable short-term option that enables businesses to reduce emissions today while working to implement the ecosystem needed to transition to hydrogen and electricity tomorrow.

Overcoming the challenges of availability at scale

The merits of low-carbon fuels for a sites’ mobility needs might already be clear. After all, the technology is mature and it is easy to implement – certainly compared with hydrogen and electricity. However, there are still barriers to overcome before we see widespread adoption in the mining industry.

Availability and affordability are the two critical challenges. Despite its maturity, supply of low-carbon fuels is tight – especially given the remote regions that mining operations usually take place in. The need to comply with regional regulations on renewable fuels is also driving rising demand. For example, the EU Commission’s renewable energy directive has proposed increasing its target for renewable energy sources consumption by 2030 to 45% (up from its current goal of 32%).

Also, mining is not the only sector looking to alternative fuels to drive decarbonisation, meaning businesses will need to compete and trade with areas like commercial road transport to source low-carbon options. With more users needing access to alternative fuels, premiums for low-carbon fuels remain high. This can make low-carbon fuels less affordable and risks undermining any TCO improvements businesses can expect to realise from fuel switching.

It means that businesses are hesitant to act today as they wait for more capacity and greater competition to arrive – even though mining cannot afford to delay its emissions reduction efforts. That is why, at Shell, we are working to deliver additional capacity and competition. As well as investing in new production facilities (including a new biofuels facility in the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam, which will produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel made from waste in The Netherlands once it comes onstream), we are using our existing relationships with OEMs to help mining businesses get the most out of the low-carbon fuels they do have access to.

Collaboration will be critical to fuel switching success

Ultimately, if mining businesses are to meet their regulatory responsibilities while driving performance, they will need to unlock the opportunity that fuel switching provides. From low-carbon fuels to electrification to hydrogen, there is huge potential to reduce emissions while improving the TCO of mining mobility.

Successful fuel switching will require close collaboration with partners and suppliers to create a new fuel ecosystem by improving the availability and affordability of alternatives to conventional diesel. Only by working together will we deliver a new fuel future for mining, which is why Shell Mining is committed to supporting the industry on every step of its decarbonisation journey.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Worley acquires Minera Mining Technologies, expands automation and decarbonisation offering

Worley says it has acquired Minera Mining Technologies, a global technical solutions provider to the mining, minerals and metals industry, furthering its ability to automate and decarbonise mining operations.

Adding Minera to its existing Technology and Expert Solutions team will strengthen the company’s role in the energy transition and bring greater depth to the roadmaps needed to achieve sustainable mining solutions, according to Worley.

“The acquisition of Minera aligns with Worley’s purpose of delivering a more sustainable world, and its aspiration to achieve 75% of its revenue from sustainability-related business within five years,” Nick Bell, Global Sector Lead, Resources, said.

Headquartered in Western Australia, Minera’s mining, geological and technical consultants work with mine owners to automate and decarbonise by determining the best-fit technology solutions and strategies for their assets. The pairing provides enhanced front-end solutions covering automation, fleet decarbonisation/electrification and operational benefits realisation, Worley noted.

Bell added: “The world needs more mining. But performance and production improvements are required as the energy transition and ESG pressure calls for sustainable materials delivered at pace. To meet these demands, the industry needs the right partner to identify and adopt new and emerging technologies, often within an operating environment. The acquisition of Minera means we can do just that for our customers all over the world.”

Martin Boulton, Director of Minera, added: “Automation will remain a puzzle unless miners develop horizons that plan the practical application across their assets. With the introduction of Minera, Worley can create autonomous business plans to help our customers define their target technology landscape, along with the delivery capabilities to achieve this operational state. We will also continue development of our autonomous skills training to grow industry capability and ensure solutions are implemented safely and on time.”

CEEC prepares for next chapter in growth with personnel changes

The Coalition for Eco Efficient Comminution (CEEC) has announced several major changes in its governance and operation, with CEO, Alison Keogh (right), stepping down, Janine Herzig (left) joining CEEC as Executive President and Board Director and Marc Allen taking over from Michael Battersby as Chair.

After six years of working as CEO to promote CEEC, Keogh has decided to step down from the position, and to welcome in new leadership for CEEC’s next chapter, CEEC said, adding that it will make an announcement shortly about the appointment of additional operational staff and Directors.

Keogh says she is proud to have been an early mover to help industry share critical knowledge on installing renewables and progressing net zero emissions approaches. She grew the group’s global reach, led international workshops across three continents and developed free webinars and podcasts to reach more people, CEEC said. She also initiated CEEC’s first workshop on Water Curves in North America and helped raise awareness of how important comminution and processing are to reduce energy, emissions and water footprint across mining worldwide.

More recently, she steered CEEC through the global pandemic and oversaw the organisation’s 10-year anniversary milestone in 2021.

“I am honoured to have led CEEC, which helps industry share practical solutions and innovative advances that are so important for the sustainable minerals needed for our world’s future,” she said. “Collaboration is vital to accelerate the world’s transition to net zero emissions. CEEC brings leaders and innovators together to share knowledge of cutting-edge processing to reduce mining’s footprint.

“I look forward to CEEC’s next chapter led by Marc Allen and Janine Herzig and encourage visionary leaders to contribute to this inspirational and global group.”

CEEC’s Board of Directors has undertaken a strategic review to consider the ever increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements of the resources sector. The outcome of this analysis is that CEEC has created the role of Executive President and has brought in Janine Herzig in this position.

Herzig is a Director of MetVal Consulting Pty Ltd, Convenor of the MetPlant Conference Series, former Non-Executive Director of Base Resources Ltd and former Director and Immediate Past President of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). She has over 30 years’ experience in the resources sector, across multiple commodities; starting her professional career as a graduate metallurgist in Mount Isa and later working in various operational and project roles across on numerous sites, including 10 years with Iluka Resources.

As General Manager – Minerals and Industrial, with Amdel, she then led a major expansion and transformation of the company, which then became Bureau Veritas.

A Fellow and Chartered Professional (Metallurgy) of the AusIMM, Herzig is currently the Chair of the AusIMM ESG Board Advisory Group, Chair of the AusIMM International Advisory Forum, and Chair of the AusIMM Awards Committee Highest Honour Panel. She is also Co-Chair of the Global Mineral Professionals Alliance (GMPA) and its Global Action on Tailings (GAT) initiative.

Herzig is also a member of the Steering Committee for the NExUS program, the Advisory Board for the ARC Training Centre for Integrated Operations for Complex Resources, presenter for the AusIMM Professional Certificate in ESG and Social Responsibility and is on the Advisory Board of the Australian Society for Off-Earth Construction (ASOC) which operates out of the Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources.

“I am delighted to assume this comprehensive leadership role with CEEC, having been a CEEC Advocate for the past two years,” she said. “It allows me to combine my passions for mineral processing, ESG initiatives, technical excellence and giving back to an industry that I love.”

CEEC’s Board has appointed Marc Allen as Chair of CEEC, taking over from Michael Battersby.

Allen is an energy and emissions expert who joined the CEEC Board as a Director in 2019. He is the Technical Director at engeco, a Singapore-based consultancy providing advisory services primarily in energy and greenhouse gas management and strategy, as well as broader sustainability, across Australasia.

He has over 20 years’ experience in a variety of operational and consulting roles with INPEX, Energetics, Simulus and BOC. His experience has focused on sustainability, process engineering, carbon management and energy efficiency to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy through development and implementation of robust strategies for greenhouse gas and energy management. He has published several papers on renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon pricing, and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) degree from the Curtin University of Technology. He is also a mentor for the Curtin Next Step mentoring program.

Outgoing Chair, Michael Battersby, welcomed Allen to the position: “I have been honoured to hold the position of Chair of CEEC for the last four years. However, renewal is always beneficial. I will join Joe Pease in becoming a past Chair and will continue as a Director.

“Having worked with Marc Allen during my time as Chair, I know he will lead CEEC to new heights in the coming years.”

Allen commented: “I have been involved with CEEC since 2018 and am very much looking forward to fulfilling the role of Chair and working to continue our mission to maximize energy efficiency across the minerals processing industry. I’m appreciative of the leadership shown by both Joe Pease and Michael Battersby during my time at CEEC so far and hope to continue to work with them closely while they remain on the board.”

CEEC will be announcing additional changes to prepare for the next evolution of the organisation and its growth and expansion. These include an increased focus on net zero, decarbonisation and ESG, finalisation of the Water Curves project, the release of new ‘Spotlight Leader Conversations’ video interviews and more episodes of the new ‘CEECing Change’ podcast.

The winners of the 2021 CEEC Medals were announced on June 21 and will be officially awarded by President, Janine Herzig, at the upcoming IMPC-APAC Conference in Melbourne in August.

ERG looks at green hydrogen, wind, solar power as part of decarbonisation efforts

Eurasian Resources Group is exploring the potential use of green hydrogen in its calcination kilns, as well as installing a portfolio of wind and solar power plants with an up to 6 GW capacity as part of its decarbonisation plans, according to Dr Alexander Machkevitch, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

During the plenary session of the Council for Foreign Affairs under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, titled, ‘Decarbonisation of the economy: Implementation of low-carbon technologies to identify environmental, social and governance settings (ESG),’ Dr Machkevitch, shared ERG’s ambitious plans to decarbonise its operations, including those with a focus on green hydrogen and renewable energy generation.

These efforts form an important part of the group’s ESG strategy and support Kazakhstan’s own national decarbonisation targets, it says.

Dr Machkevitch said: “Our environmental strategy includes around 40 projects across the group, embracing the development and application of new technological solutions such as the unique hybrid filter technology implemented at our plants together with thyssenkrupp. At ERG, we are exploring to replace fossil fuel oil in calcination kilns with green hydrogen, which can eliminate 100% of direct greenhouse gas emissions in this technological process. The group also plans to develop a portfolio of wind and solar electric power plants with total capacity of up to 6 GW.”

The group’s ESG 2030 goals include specific targets for reducing particulate emissions, waste and water use, with the three priorities being the reduction of particulate emissions by two-fold, the reduction of water consumption by a third, and the prevention of more than 2 Mt/y of CO2 emissions through the use of renewable energy sources. These activities will cost around $1.6 billion.

ERG’s decarbonisation commitments will significantly support national climate targets, it says. Kazakhstan plans to reduce national GHG emissions by 1.5% a year between 2022 and 2025, achieve a 15% reduction by 2030 and seek carbon neutrality in 2060.

Vale goes in search of more mining innovations with new venture capital initiative

Vale says it is launching Vale Ventures, its corporate venture capital initiative, to support pioneering start-ups around the world and create new business opportunities and innovative technologies to incorporate into its own operations.

The $100 million fund has been setup to acquire minority stakes in start-ups focused on four themes:

  • Decarbonisation in the mining value chain – Invest in technologies that will help Vale and its customers reduce carbon emissions, supporting its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050;
  • Zero-waste mining – Reduce waste and the environmental impact of mining while supporting the circular economy and generating new revenue streams;
  • Energy transition metals – Accelerate the supply of essential metals to power the energy transition and foster emerging demand drivers; and
  • The future of mining – Invest in disruptive technologies that will change how miners operate.

Viktor Moszkowicz, Head of Vale Ventures, says: “We will collaborate with forward-thinking start-ups bringing big ideas and bold thinking to these monumental challenges. By creating a portfolio of disruptive solutions, we can generate financial and strategic return, and bring new business opportunities, insights and knowledge to our company, customers and society.”

The company added: “Vale Ventures reinforces Vale’s larger commitment to innovation, which is key to improve life and transform the future together with society.”

WHSP completes acquisition of ‘net zero’ focused electrical engineering firm Ampcontrol

Washington H Soul Pattinson and Company Limited says it has completed the acquisition of 100% of Ampcontrol in a deal that should help accelerate the privately owned electrical engineering company’s ambitions to help facilitate a net-zero carbon environment.

WHSP has held a major shareholding in Ampcontrol since investing in the company in 2005 and has now acquired the remaining shareholdings.

The acquisition comes as Ampcontrol accelerates its strategy to be at the forefront of developing and supplying advanced technology for the net-zero age. This was evidenced recently when Ampcontrol and its technology partner Tritium were announced as a winner in the Global “Charge on Innovation Challenge” launched by BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale to accelerate the commercialisation of effective solutions for charging large electric haul trucks.

The Ampcontrol and Tritium solution selected by the challenge was an end-to-end ultra-fast modular recharging station that is fully automated, relocatable, scalable and cell agnostic for mining haul truck battery swapping. Drive-in/drive-out, an autonomous transfer robot swap batteries in 90 seconds, significantly reducing safety risks and increasing productivity by excluding personnel from the swap process, according to the partners.

Todd Barlow, Managing Director of WHSP, said: “Ampcontrol is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the significant investment in resources, infrastructure and energy solutions, as the world transitions to a lower carbon economy. Ampcontrol is a high-quality platform upon which we can continue to invest and grow a world-class business, taking advantage of strong industry tailwinds and their talented people, technology and engineering excellence.”

Ampcontrol Managing Director & CEO, Rod Henderson, said: “The acquisition marks a remarkable new era for the Australian manufacturing business and the next chapter in its growth story. The increased ownership of WHSP will provide us with the stability and resources to take advantage of the organic and inorganic growth opportunities that the decarbonisation thematic presents.”

ABB to help Savannah with move towards carbon-neutral lithium production at Barroso

ABB and Savannah Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore industrial automation and smart electrification solutions for the development of the Barroso lithium project in northern Portugal.

Under the early-stage agreement, ABB will apply its technical expertise to outline production control and process solutions for lithium concentrate production and integrated spodumene mining operations in line with Savannah’s target of zero emission operations by 2030.

Barroso is 143 km northeast of Porto and is Europe’s largest known resource of hard-rock spodumene. Savannah’s objective is to develop an operation producing premium, carbon-neutral lithium concentrate as a strategic raw material in Europe’s electric vehicle battery supply chain. Local electricity, produced mainly from hydro, solar and wind energy with zero carbon emissions, would be used to provide power to the project.

ABB says its technology solutions are well aligned and would maximise the use of the renewable energy and electrification to move the project towards carbon-neutral production.

Savannah is focused on responsible development of Barroso by using 238 individual measures to eliminate or mitigate environmental impacts. These measures will be included in the definitive feasibility study on the project, which Savannah is currently completing. This will also incorporate the actions from the current project decarbonisation study, which supports Savannah’s commitment to target a zero emission operation by 2030 or earlier.

Just last month, Savannah signed an agreement with ECOPROGRESSO − Quadrante Group − a Portuguese consultant in environmental, sustainability, climate change and resources management to lead on the creation of a decarbonisation strategy for Barroso.

“ABB is at the forefront of the automation and electrification that is required for our decarbonisation journey,” David Archer, CEO of Savannah, said. “We are pleased to have their expertise as we continue to execute on our decarbonisation strategy to build Europe’s first lithium spodumene production facility, as a critical supplier of low carbon raw materials for more sustainable batteries.”

Frederik Esterhuizen, Hub Manager Central and South Europe & Australia, Process Industries, ABB, said: “The development of Savannah’s Barroso lithium project provides us with an additional opportunity to showcase ABB’s leadership in industrial automation and smart electrification in Europe, applied towards key operations for the emerging European battery supply chain. This is another step as we continue to enable more sustainable and fossil fuel free industrial operations.”

ABB will also work towards binding agreements with Savannah in relation to the electrification, automation and digital solutions in the future.

Fresnillo completes conversion of Herradura haul truck fleet to Cat dual-fuel system

In its recently released 2021 financial results, Fresnillo confirmed it had completed the conversion of its haul truck fleet at the Herradura gold mine in Mexico to a dual-fuel system leveraging both diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company started its dual-fuel journey all the way back in 2016 when, together with Caterpillar, it trialled/piloted the mining OEM’s Dynamic Gas Blending™ (DGB) dual-fuel technology on two prototype trucks as part of a strategy at Herradura to reduce both its carbon footprint and costs.

Caterpillar’s dual-fuel DGB technology works by blending lower cost LNG with diesel fuel, with the resultant improvements in fuel, emissions and maintenance adding up to millions of dollars each year in cost savings, the mining OEM says.

Following some good initial results from Herradura, the company made plans to roll out this technology across its fleet, converting its haulage fleet’s diesel engines to a dual-fuel system, which optimises consumption by automatically switching between diesel and LNG depending on the terrain.

The Herradura fleet consists of Cat 785C and 793D haul trucks, among others.

A Fresnillo spokesperson told IM: “The 785C series consume approximately a 40:60 diesel-LNG mix, while the 793D has a 65:35 ratio, thus achieving, in 2021, a reduced energy factor of 20.97% and 18.68%, respectively.

“To date, we’ve recovered 35% of our investment through fuel savings, which considers both the LNG conversion kits and the biomodal supply station.”

The company has now converted 31 of its 785Cs to run on this mix, along with 10 793Ds. It has also invested in infrastructure to ensure it has the appropriate LNG storage capacity at Herradura.