Tag Archives: greenhouse gas

Australian Potash enlists help of PWR Hybrid for Lake Wells renewable microgrid

Australian Potash Ltd says PWR Hybrid has been awarded “Preferred Proponent status” to build, own and operate a circa-35 MW hybrid renewable microgrid at its Lake Wells sulphate of potash project (LSOP) in Western Australia.

The power purchase agreement will be finalised through the early contractor involvement process the companies will now progress, with an improved indicative levelised cost of energy to the recently published front end engineering design study, Australian Potash said.

PWR Hybrid brings over 28 years of experience in developing power solutions to remote sites across the globe, including more than 350 MW of solar installations, according to the company.

The company also commissioned an assessment of the LSOP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint as part of its preparation for compliance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) regime, effective in Europe from March 10, 2021. This assessment, taking into consideration the power balance across the project and energy usage through to ports of loading in Western Australia, concluded that the LSOP will produce a CO2-e GHG that is materially lower than either a comparable Mannheim operation (LSOP<Mannheim by 69%) or solar-salt/brine operation (LSOP<other by 49%), the company said.

Australian Potash Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said: “Strategically, we shifted the focus of the LSOP development and operations to a sustainable energy footing to capture and leverage the already low GHG footprint of a solar-salt project. With the benefit of time, and rigorous and methodical planning, several alternative configurations for the LSOP microgrid were presented and assessed.

“With our vision on the operational future of the LSOP, and therefore our end users, we consider it vital to address sustainable production of SOP as a critical path item. To that end, we have commissioned a formal, rigorous ESG audit of the LSOP which will further provide our distribution partners, end users and investors with third party validation of the project’s ESG qualities.”

The LSOP microgrid will be developed in a staged approach, with the thermal component to be completed within around 15 months of the company making a final investment decision. This timeline ensures power supply preparedness for steady-state operations.

PWR Hybrid’s Director, Ryan Green, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be awarded preferred bidder status by Australian Potash. This is further recognition of PWR Hybrid’s capabilities in the hybrid power station market.

“Having recently delivered a 12 MW gas-fired power station in Western Australia, and commenced work on the hybridisation of that project, the company is well-positioned to partner with Australian Potash to provide an industry-leading hybrid power station at the LSOP.”

Key outcomes from the 2019 definitive feasibility study on Lake Wells include:

  • 30-year mine life producing 150,000 t/y of premium grade SOP utilising approximately 21% of the total measured resource estimate;
  • Long mine life underpinned by 3.6 Mt reserve and 18.1 Mt measured resource estimate;
  • Development capex of A$208 million ($153 million) with capital intensity of A$1,387/t; and
  • First quartile industry operating costs of $262/t providing high cash operating margins.

Photo credit: juwi

Weir-backed report highlights decarbonisation opportunities in mineral processing

An independent report, commissioned by the Weir Group, has highlighted the global mining industry’s energy usage, illuminating where energy is consumed and linking it with opportunities and pathways for sector-wide decarbonisation.

The report analyses mine energy use from over 40 published studies, centred on five commodities – copper, gold, iron ore, nickel and lithium. For these five metals, it finds comminution – the crushing and grinding of rocks – alone accounts for 25% of final energy consumption at an ‘average’ mine site. Extended across all hard-rock mining, this is equivalent to up to 1% of total final energy consumption globally.

The report reconfirms comminution as a key target for energy and emissions reduction efforts.

These findings align with the mission of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), a global initiative to accelerate eco-efficient minerals, with a focus on energy-efficient comminution. It also extends on previous CEEC messaging, indicating up to 3% of global electrical energy is used in comminution when considering all mined commodities, quarrying and cement production.

In addition to optimising comminution, the report also highlights other energy and emissions reduction opportunities such as the redesign of grinding circuits at greenfield sites, improved drill and blast approaches, pre-concentration, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve decision making.

The report emphasises the mining industry’s crucial role in supporting the transition to net zero emissions, needed to limit global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement, CEEC says. This includes more efficient and sustainable technologies if the industry is to meet the challenge of decarbonisation.

“Despite the scale of the challenge, the report underlines that small improvements in existing mines can lead to large savings in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” CEEC said.

Report author, Marc Allen, states a 5% incremental improvement in energy efficiency across comminution could result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 30 Mt of CO2e.

Allen said: “A relatively modest 5% improvement in comminution across the industry may result in emissions reductions close to the total emissions for New Zealand (35 Mt CO2e).

“A more robust energy audit process and implementation of low-cost opportunities across a mine and process plant may result in total energy savings of up to 10-15% and overall emissions reductions of over 200 Mt of CO2e per annum, depending on the source of electricity.

“Large-scale introduction of renewable energy provides the potential to reduce emissions significantly in the industry – hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas savings when there is widespread adoption of renewable energy and energy storage.”

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, commended Weir for commissioning this timely work, and all industry leaders taking proactive steps to reduce mining’s footprint. She said outstanding CEEC Medal winning work and 700 published advances have already shared good options for miners to consider, thanks to CEEC sponsors, volunteers and authors.

She urged industry to collaborate to accelerate decarbonisation steps.

“More open knowledge sharing helps speed installations of renewables and energy-efficient approaches across all of industry,” Keogh said. “Benefits also include increased productivity, shareholder value, and financing as companies demonstrate performance towards net zero emissions sooner.”

She cited three key collaboration actions vital to success: (1) sharing best practices, to ensure existing mines and processing plants are better informed and take actions earlier to become more energy and water efficient; (2) sharing new technologies, designs and innovations; and (3) supporting test work and pilots of novel technology on sites and at increasing scales.

Keogh called for greater industry dialogue, noting: “This report highlights both a challenge and an opportunity to revitalise cross-industry discussion and actions on decarbonisation and ESG solutions. Weir is one of many visionary CEEC sponsors supporting public good initiatives like CEEC; we invite industry leaders to actively contribute and collaborate through mining-vendor-research partnerships and share knowledge, site case studies and net zero plans via independent organisations such as CEEC.

“Together, we can accelerate improved energy, emissions and water footprint across industry faster.”

Weir Group Chief Executive, Jon Stanton, commented: “Mining needs to become more sustainable and efficient if it is to provide essential resources the world needs for decarbonisation while reducing its own environmental impact. This report is an important contribution to that debate which we hope will spark thoughtful conversations around the world on the way forward.”

Teck and AES shake on renewable power agreement for Carmen de Andacollo copper mine

Teck Resources and The AES Corp’s Chile affiliates, Compañía Minera Teck Carmen de Andacollo SA (CdA) and AES Gener SA, have entered into a long-term power purchase agreement to provide 100% renewable power for Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo Operation in Chile.

Under the agreement, CdA will source 72 MW (550 GWh/y) from AES Gener’s growing renewable portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric energy.

The transition to renewable power will replace previous fossil fuel power sources and eliminate around 200,000 t/y of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to removing over 40,000 passenger vehicles from the road, Teck says.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said: “Teck is tackling the global challenge of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of our operations and working towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral. This agreement takes Teck a step closer to achieving our sustainability goals, while also ensuring a reliable, long-term clean power supply for CdA at a reduced cost to Teck.”

Andrés Gluski, AES Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, said the company was honoured to continue working with Teck to help the miner progress towards its goal of carbon neutrality.

“By providing Teck with innovative renewable energy solutions, AES Gener is helping build Chile’s sustainable and reliable grid of the future,” Gluski said.

As part of its updated Sustainability Strategy, Teck has set the goal of being a carbon-neutral operator by 2050. In support of that long-term objective, Teck has established milestone goals including sourcing 100% of all power needs in Chile from renewable power by 2030 and reducing the carbon intensity of operations by 33% by 2030. Teck previously announced an agreement with AES Gener to supply renewable power for the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project currently under construction. Once effective, more than 50% of QB2’s total operating power needs will be from renewable sources.

The Carmen de Andacollo renewable power arrangement is in effect as of September 1, 2020, and will run through to the end of 2031.

Alejandro Vásquez, Vice President, South America, Teck, said: “Switching to clean, renewable power for Carmen de Andacollo is another step forward in our ongoing commitment to responsible resource development across our operations and activities.”

Carmen de Andacollo is an open-pit copper mine located in the Coquimbo Region of central Chile, around 350 km north of Santiago. Teck owns a 90% interest in the mine, with Empresa Nacional de Minería holding the remaining 10%. It produced 54,000 t of copper in 2019.

Fortescue aims for net zero operational emissions by 2040

Fortescue Metals Group has become the latest company to announce plans to achieve net zero operational emissions.

The goal, which the company aims to achieve by 2040, is core to Fortescue’s climate change strategy and is underpinned by a pathway to decarbonisation, it said. This includes the reduction of Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations by 26% from 2020 levels, by 2030, it said.

Other miners such as Vale, BHP and Rio Tinto have all made similar pledges in the last year.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue has a proud history of setting stretch targets and our 2030 emissions reduction commitment, together with our goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040, positions Fortescue as a leader in addressing the global climate change challenge.

“Fortescue supports the Paris Agreement long-term goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and our emissions reduction targets align with this international objective. Our success will be founded on practical initiatives that will allow us to deliver on our targets in an economically sustainable manner.”

Gaines said since October 2019, Fortescue and its partners have announced investments in excess of $800 million in significant energy infrastructure projects to increase its renewable energy supply. These will be a key contributor to its pathway to achieving the emissions reduction targets, she added.

This includes the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project, announced with Alinta Energy in October 2019. Currently under construction, the project will include a 60 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) generation facility at the Chichester Hub, comprising Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations. In addition, a circa-60 km transmission line will be built, with completion due mid-2021. This will link the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station and 35 MW battery facility.

Another major investment is the $700 million Pilbara Energy Connect (PEC) program. This includes the $250 million Pilbara Transmission project, consisting of 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting Fortescue’s mine sites, and the $450 million Pilbara Generation project, comprising 150 MW of gas-fired generation, together with 150 MW of solar PV generation and large-scale battery storage. “The PEC project leverages existing assets and provides Fortescue with a hybrid solar gas energy solution that enables the delivery of stable, low cost power and supports the incorporation of additional large-scale renewable energy in the future,” the company says.

These two initiatives, together, will deliver 25-30% of Fortescue’s stationary energy requirements from solar power, according to Gaines.

Gaines added: “Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world and Fortescue is harnessing this technology and capability to achieve carbon neutrality with a sense of urgency. In addition to the development of gas technology and renewables for our stationary energy requirements, we are working towards decarbonising our mobile fleet through the next phase of hydrogen and battery-electric energy solutions.”

In terms of hydrogen, Fortescue, in 2018, signed a partnership agreement with the CSIRO to develop its metal membrane technology, which provides the potential for the bulk transportation of hydrogen through ammonia.

Emissions data and performance against targets will be reported annually as part of Fortescue’s annual reporting suite, the company said. Baseline and annual emissions data will be calculated on a financial year basis.

While not included in the existing operations calculation, Iron Bridge – due to commence operation by mid-2022 – is likely to come with emissions reduction targets that align with Fortescue’s goal to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040, the company said.