Tag Archives: mine decarbonisation

Electric Mine Consortium launches Surface Long Haul EV Challenge

The Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) – made up of Evolution Mining, South32, Newcrest and a total of 21 major industry players – has launched a Surface Long Haul EV Challenge, calling on the automotive and electric vehicle (EV) industry for solutions in its mission to establish decarbonised mine sites.

The EMC’s call out to companies in the tech, renewable and manufacturing industries is looking for ground-breaking solutions to long haul EV trucks and associated charging infrastructure for mine sites and global supply chains.

Driven by collective demand for electric equipment across the EMC’s operating sites, spread over six continents, the consortium is looking to form synergies between mining and non-mining industries to accelerate decarbonisation solutions across the industry – the mining industry currently contributes 8% of the globe’s emissions.

EMC Founder and Director, Graeme Stanway, explains there’s currently no equipment and associated infrastructure solution that’s available at scale, in line with mining companies’ operational needs.

“The mining industry’s path to electrification is where the car industry was 10 years ago,” Stanway said. “We have the technology, but it needs acceleration and adaptation to meet the needs of varied mine sites across the world.”

He says there’s a big opportunity to recreate mining from a place of siloed communication between companies to a point where collective strategy drives the industry to drastically reduce and ultimately eliminate carbon emissions, through electrification.

“We have the world’s largest data platform of shared knowledge surrounding renewables in mining,” Stanway said. “Through the Surface Long Haul EV Challenge, we’ll be working to accelerate, pilot and convert all new fleets to electric with detailed use case studies for knowledge sharing across the industry.

“If we can solve this for our freight in mining, imagine the impact we can have on the rest of the transport market. Mining has a great opportunity to flip the perception…from being seen on the wrong end of the ledger, to being a leader.”

The EMC is now seeking businesses who can design or supply electric long-haul equipment solutions.

Weir Group commits to more ambitious Scope 1, 2 and 3 emission goals

The Weir Group says it has submitted new, more ambitious Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions reduction targets to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) for validation.

The move, which follows its commitment, in December 2021, to set SBTi targets, could see the company include absolute reductions in Scope 1 and 2 emissions of 30% and Scope 3 emissions of 15% by 2030, versus a 2019 baseline.

Weir Group explained: “The targets are more ambitious than our previous goals, set in 2020, in two ways:

  • “Switching from an intensity to an absolute emissions reduction basis will drive deeper cuts in Scope 1 and 2 emissions; and
  • “The new Scope 3 commitment adds targets for emissions in Weir’s upstream and downstream value chain for the first time.”

These new targets will make a significant contribution to decarbonising the mining industry, according to Weir. Delivering them would mean that, in 2030, an annual reduction of circa 4.2 Mt CO2e is achieved, equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of almost 1 million petrol cars.

Weir is focused on developing engineered solutions for smarter, more efficient and sustainable mining, providing customers with new value-adding technologies for use in the most energy intensive processes in the mine, it says.

“With 97% of our total emissions falling within Scope 3, over the lifetime of our products in use, we recognise that our biggest contribution to decarbonising mining will come from delivering sustainable solutions to accompany the industry’s transition to low-carbon energy sources,” the company said.

“The mining industry is critical to the global energy transition as it extracts the raw materials needed to implement new, greener technologies. However, it is energy intensive and so has to meet this increasing demand while delivering on its own environmental commitments. Therefore, it is imperative that we actively partner with customers and others across the industry to drive the broader energy transition required.”

Jon Stanton, Weir Group CEO, said: “These new, more ambitious targets mark another important step in our strategy and strengthen our commitment to further reduce emissions from our own operations and in our wider value chain. Weir’s products and solutions already have a positive impact on the energy efficiency of our customers’ operations, but we recognise that more needs to be done. Our customers are pushing us to innovate lower carbon, more energy efficient solutions and we are stepping up to this. We continue to push boundaries at pace to develop smarter, more efficient and more sustainable solutions for the global mining industry that will enable the delivery of the natural resources essential to create a better future for the world.”

Electric Mine Consortium partners with AWS on world-first mine decarbonisation platform

Australia’s Electric Mine Consortium (EMC), made up of some of the world’s leading mining and service companies, has announced it is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to accelerate the electrification of mine sites globally.

Announced at AWS Summit 2022, EMC is using AWS’s depth and breadth of services, including machine learning, business intelligence and storage, to build the world’s first mining data platform, to capture real-time information on mine decarbonisation from sites globally.

To drive decarbonisation, mining companies can use the platform to measure energy storage levels and electrical infrastructure use from global mine sites to accelerate the creation of a cleaner, more electrified future in mining, EMC said.

Co-founder of the EMC, Graeme Stanway, says the platform can help enable EMC members to share sustainability insights and analyse the outcomes of adopting electrified mining infrastructure and sustainable operations.

“The way we generate, store and harness energy around the globe is changing drastically,” Stanway said. “EMC’s collaboration with AWS will help see us at the forefront of this change, driving the mining industry’s electrification at scale.”

Stanway said the industry is crying out for tools to decarbonise due to tightening government emission reduction targets, increasing environmental, social and governance pressure, and the industry being responsible for 7% of the greenhouse gas emissions globally.

“Like the electric vehicle industry, electric mines are the future” Stanway said. “Not only can they be safer through the eradication of diesel particulates, pollution, noise and vibrations, they can also be more targeted, precise and effective when it comes to mining, and yield stronger results than traditional mines with minimal ground disturbance.”

As part of the initiative, EMC created a “data lake” using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service, that can securely store thousands of datasets from the consortium’s mines, including data on energy consumption and renewable energy infrastructure output.

EMC can then clean the data and run data pipelines using AWS Step Functions, a low-code, visual workflow service; AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service; and AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service. AWS Glue can provide EMC with data catalogue functionality, and AWS Lake Formation, a service that makes it easy to set up a secure data lake in days, can deliver security and access control.

Amazon QuickSight, a business intelligence service (screenshot pictured), can allow everyone in the consortium to explore and understand mining data through user-friendly interactive dashboards that identify efficiency practices that may reduce emissions, according to EMC.

Also, using Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service to build, train, and deploy machine learning models, EMC can train machine-learning models to predict energy usage spikes at mines and track the carbon efficiency of deploying sustainable energy infrastructure.

Sarah Bassett, Head of Mining and Energy, Australia at AWS, said: “Data capture and analysis is essential to mining operations, and AWS is helping consortium members to share their critical datasets and collective insights to drive the digitisation and evolution of the industry. I am excited to be collaborating with the EMC and its consortium members to improve the design of mines globally and accelerate the industry’s journey to decarbonisation on the global scale.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies. These companies are driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. Thus, the objective of the EMC is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine through:

  • Resolving key technology choices;
  • Shaping the supplier ecosystem;
  • Influencing policy; and
  • Communicating the business case

The EMC is emerging as a key vehicle for the decarbonisation of the mining industry, particularly for underground operations, and will remain responsive to the rapidly changing external environment.

Members include OZ Minerals, Newcrest Mining, Gold Fields, IGO, South32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Iluka Resources.

Zenith Energy to roll out 5B Maverick solar system across Australian mine sites

Renewable energy penetration is set to increase on major mine sites in the Goldfields and Pilbara regions of Australia, after Zenith Energy and 5B signed a deployment agreement that could see the 5B Maverick™ system rolled out.

Zenith, one of Australia’s leading independent power producers, and 5B, a clean energy technology provider, signed an Ecosystem Framework Agreement-Deployment, permitting Zenith to be a deployment partner of the 5B Maverick system within Australia.

The 5B Maverick system solar array is prefabricated, allowing rapid deployment while increasing the ability of Zenith to expand renewable assets across existing and future sites, Zenith said. Each 5B Maverick array consists of up to 90 solar panels, mounted on specially designed racks, and optimised for the 540-550 W module class of the utility scale solar industry.

Zenith Managing Director, Hamish Moffat, said the partnership represents the next step in reducing emissions across Zenith’s legacy portfolio.

“We’ve been looking to increase renewable assets across multiple sites for some time; the question has always been around how we can achieve that in such a way that is economically viable,” he said. “The 5B Maverick system is re-deployable, meaning it can be integrated on mines with shorter tenure, and moved at the end of operations at those sites.”

He added: “It offers Zenith greater ability to leverage value from our initial capital expenditure, making it more cost effective to offer expanded renewable energy solutions for our clients.”

5B Co-Founder and CEO, Chris McGrath, said the strategic partnership is an important validation of 5B Maverick’s ability to reduce deployment complexity.

“This has been a major barrier for solar installations on mine sites worldwide,” he said. “The agreement also shows that our cost reduction efforts over the past two years have worked – we’ve hit the price point where 5B Mavericks can be viably packed up and redeployed elsewhere, substantially reducing the risk of stranded assets in mining, agricultural and industrial operations.”

Moffat said Zenith is looking to integrate the 5B Maverick system across three sites initially. These include:

  • Nova: The 5B Maverick will play a major role in Zenith’s industry first ‘engine-off’ project at IGO’s Nova nickel mine, allowing the site to operate on up to nine consecutive hours of renewable energy through the installation of an extra 10 MW of solar, and a 10 MW battery energy storage system;
  • Warrawoona: Zenith recently committed to the supply, installation, and commissioning of a 4 MW DC Solar Farm, using the 5B Maverick, as well as a 3 MW/3 MWh AC battery energy storage system at Warrawoona, owned by Calidus Resources. The hybrid power station configuration will reduce gas use, which in turn results in a reduction in emissions; and
  • King of The Hills: Work is currently underway to install 2 MW of 5B Maverick on the Red 5 site, also supported by a battery energy storage system.

Moffat said the 5B agreement is another key milestone on the company’s journey toward ‘net zero’.

“Our 2035 ‘net zero’ target strikes a balance between ambition and ability to achieve, with the 5B partnership a clear demonstration of our progress and commitment to this goal,” he said.

McGrath said 5B was keen to partner with Zenith, given the independent power producer’s strong reputation and credibility in providing renewable energy solutions to the mining and resources industry.

“We’re keen to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded companies, and Zenith definitely fits the bill,” he said. “It is great to see Zenith leveraging the ability of the 5B Maverick solar arrays to deploy up to 10 times faster, more safely than single axis tracker and fixed tilt solar systems, to deliver a full solution for their customers.”

Moffat said the partnership offers both Zenith and 5B the opportunity to continue to lead the industry, demonstrating the ability and capacity to effectively integrate renewable energy solutions.

“We have continually said we want to be part of the renewable solution, not just by developing the concepts needed, but by also actively deploying and proving the technology,” he said. “The partnership with 5B allows us to do this and continue to bring our clients on the glide path to ‘net zero’.”

Newmont’s Gosteva urges action to achieve mining industry’s decarbonisation goals

Partnerships between miners and mining equipment, technology and service (METS) providers will prove key in solving the emissions reductions and sustainability targets mining companies have set for 2030 and beyond, Victoria Gosteva, Decarbonisation Program Manager at Newmont, said at the SME MineXchange Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City today.

While outlining Newmont’s Energy & Decarbonization Program on stage, Gosteva made important statements about how the wider industry could decarbonise its operations and hit the goals it has set. Newmont, itself, has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 30% by 2030, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050.

Gosteva, urging actions over the near term, said partnerships with the METS community would be needed to set the companies on the right track to hit their sustainability goals, explaining that it was not only the technology-readiness element that needed to be addressed, but also the required infrastructure to, for example, charge electric vehicles.

“We can no longer afford to be fast followers as an industry,” she said. “There is really not that much time left to reach the 2030 targets.”

She said the investment community was also taking note of the need to decarbonise mine sites, with emissions likely to become a big contributor of company valuation metrics in the future.

Focusing on Newmont’s journey, in particular, she highlighted the $500 million the company committed over five years toward climate change initiatives back in 2020.

In addition to a number of PPA agreements looking to decarbonise the power grid of many of its remote mines, she also highlighted the 2021 signing of a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system, as well as a number of “energy efficiency” type of projects related to automation, data analytics and other projects that came under these initiatives.

Many of these projects were being helped by an enhanced investment system and process that incorporates and addresses emissions through an embedded carbon pricing mechanism. Gosteva said adding an emission calculator into these models where every project has an emission aspect in the investment review saw many of these projects develop a solid business case.

One project that has been helped by this is the strategic alliance with Caterpillar that will see the introduction of first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology and automation at the gold miner’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) and Tanami mines in the USA and Australia, respectively.

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s CC&V mine in Colorado, USA, and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

  • Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment;
  • Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery-electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Gosteva highlighted that this project – which would also see the companies work on re-using batteries for energy storage when they hit their end of life in mobile mining applications – was very important to the company achieving its goals, but acknowledged that there was no silver bullet to achieving its targets.

Hitachi Energy tackling mine decarbonisation ‘sticking point’ with interoperable haul truck charger

Hitachi Energy is working on a “truly interoperable” 8 MW electric charging solution for large haul trucks, with plans to conduct field trials by 2023, according to Matt Zafuto, VP, Industry Solutions, Hitachi Energy.

The solution – the same solution the company initially put forward for The Charge On Innovation Challenge – came to light earlier this year and was reported by IM in its Battery and Electric Machines feature in IM February 2022.

It leverages Hitachi Energy’s power systems capabilities, advanced digital technologies and proven track record of innovation in sustainable mobility, according to Zafuto, with the solution including hardware to safely charge and service the vehicles, systems for safe electrification of the environment, and services and expertise for collaborative industry partnerships.

IM put some questions to Zafuto to find out more.

IM: What partners are you working with on this interoperable solution?

MZ: We plan for this to be a truly interoperable system. No matter the manufacturer of their haul trucks, all mines will be able to use our solution on their road to carbon neutrality. The market is looking for haul truck manufacturers to build new electric haul trucks, and also to retrofit existing diesel-powered trucks. We’re developing our technology to be interoperable with either new builds or retrofits.

Our core partners, who will help us design the system, include others in the Hitachi group such as Hitachi Industrial Products and Hitachi Construction Machinery. Working together provides end-to-end, deep insight needed to calculate and achieve the power requirements of these mission-critical vehicles.

IM: When do you plan to have a prototype in place?

MZ: We intend to have this electric-powered haul truck solution in field trials by 2023.

IM: Where will this solution be tested and on what OEMs trucks?

MZ: We plan to coordinate with mines and implement field trials by 2023 to develop the best product possible. Our system will be interoperable, so we’ll be able to test it with any truck OEM.

Matt Zafuto, VP, Industry Solutions, Hitachi Energy

IM: Can you expand on how it leverages Hitachi Energy’s power systems capabilities, advanced digital technology and proven track record of innovation in sustainable mobility?

MZ: We have a proven track record for electrifying transportation with our Grid eMotion Fleet solution. Companies and organisations around the globe rely on us to develop and automate safe, efficient and cost-effective charging infrastructure for their electric buses. In this solution, we’re combining our extensive electrification and digital technologies expertise with our deep mining knowledge, where we’ve been working for decades.

We understand both how to quickly charge and maximise the power in electric vehicles and the unique situation facing mines, from the changing mine site to the automation of the vehicles to the imperative of employee safety.

We’ve laid the groundwork for electrification at operations like the DeGrussa Mine, which reduced carbon emissions by over 30,000 t and offset 11 million litres of diesel. Hitachi Energy has also delivered enterprise asset management systems, built on almost four decades of mining data, for the likes of Centerra Gold, allowing it to more effectively allocate and use equipment and achieve a new level of business efficiency.

This electric haul-truck solution brings together these areas of expertise and will push the electric mine forward by leaps and bounds. Our solution will provide 8 MW of power in three minutes of charging, about 14 times higher than any other solution available today. With this solution, we’ll create a safe, reliable way to decarbonise one of the biggest sticking points for mines in their electric future: haul trucks.

Aggreko urges miners to embrace renewable power generation now

With decarbonisation at the forefront of miners’ agendas, one of the world’s leading provider of mobile and modular power solutions, Aggreko, has released its top tips to help miners decarbonise now and into the future.

Aggreko’s Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy, said while miners were embracing the global energy transition, some were unsure where to begin.

“For some miners it’s about knowing where to start and they may be weighing up the cost, risk and threat of new technology in the future,” he said.

“Fortunately, technology isn’t in the same place as it was five years ago or even two years ago. Some of the renewable power technologies available today, combined with thermal generation in a hybrid solution, offer the same – if not better – levels of reliability and competitiveness than traditional thermal technology.”

Saffy said power generation companies were taking significant steps to support miners on their respective paths to net-zero emissions.

“Increasingly, power companies are offering renewables such as solar and wind energy to off-grid mines, and we often integrate those with battery storage solutions and thermal microgrids,” he said.

“If you consider a hybrid power solution – where you switch in renewables to your power mix alongside fossil fuels – your operation will be more flexible and can scale up and down as needed.

“Our approach means miners can also partner with us, long term, without being tied down to one fuel type for their power source, and new technology is introduced as it becomes viable.

“Integrating renewables in this manner will result in greater cost savings and efficiencies for your project.”

One solar and thermal hybrid solution Aggreko delivered for a remote gold mine in Africa resulted in more than 12% savings in fuel (about 10,000 litres a day) and the contract offered meant the miner did not have to come up with capital to invest in the solar plant.

Another example Aggreko is working on, Saffy said, is a 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution for the Salares Norte open-pit mine in Chile.

“It is a ground-breaking solution designed to provide power for the entire mine, which sits at an altitude of 4,500 m in the Andes mountain range and is 190 km from the nearest town,” he explained.

“Once complete, the hybrid power plant is expected to achieve $7.4 million in cost of energy savings over the next decade, a further $1.1 million in carbon tax offset over the life of the mine, in addition to 104,000 t of carbon emissions savings.

“The system will surpass the Chilean government’s environmental standards as well as Gold Fields’ requirement for a minimum of 20% renewable power generation for mining operations.”

Saffy said the pathways to decarbonisation that held the most appeal for miners currently included:

  • Hybrid power plants (as mentioned): These combine renewables (eg solar, wind) with thermal generation and battery storage, benefitting areas with limited or no access to permanent power. These are generally cost-competitive. Once solar or wind plants are installed, their generation running costs are relatively low and at zero emissions;
  • Virtual gas pipelines: Gas power generation can offer a greener and more cost-effective alternative to diesel and heavy fuel oil. A virtual pipeline is a substitute – and an alternative – for a physical pipeline. Gas is instead transported as LNG or CNG to the point of use by sea, road, or rail. For mines not connected to a physical pipeline and looking to switch to gas from diesel, a virtual pipeline model simply imitates their current supply solution. For users who are connected to a gas pipeline but are looking to supplement insufficient or unreliable pipeline capacity, the virtual power plant solution has several advantages over diesel; and
  • Renewable energy: Renewable energy power systems are an effective way of tapping into natural resources to provide power, such as wind farms, hydro power and solar. The challenge is their reliability related to weather, hence why, if power is interrupted for any reason, it is important to ensure they’re backed by with batteries or a temporary thermal power solution.

A significant future fuel in this space will be hydrogen. Investment in hydrogen is on the rise because of the role it can play in supporting a global transition to net-zero. Its versatility and compatibility with existing furnaces, engines and generators make it particularly appealing for the mining industry, according to Aggreko.

Saffy said energy sources likely to become more prevalent in mining during the next 10 years included biofuels (would become less expensive), hydropower, energy storage (such as pumped, mechanical flywheel), and gas generation which runs with a hybrid renewable system. While it is increasingly used now as power source, wind and solar power are also expected to gain more momentum.

Aggreko is also experimenting with mobile wind solutions, re-deployable solar panels and tidal wave power (though tidal wave power might not be for the mining industry yet). The company is also accelerating its investments in hydrogen technology, with trials underway in Europe on two different technologies, where Aggreko is collaborating with lead customers and partners trialling hydrogen generators and fuel cell battery hybrids.

“It’s a very exciting time in the mining sector, and it will be amazing to see the innovations presented during the next few years as miners and energy companies collaborate and come up with new ideas for a greener future,” Saffy said.

“The key though is to start now – you can embrace renewables now into your energy mix because, done correctly, cost and emission savings can be greatly reduced without compromising reliability.”

Aggreko has its own net-zero goals by 2050 and has a 2030 target to reduce diesel use in its customer solutions by 50%.