Tag Archives: mine power

Aggreko heralds three decades of mine power innovations

After operating for more than 60 years, Aggreko, a leading provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy solutions, is reflecting on its entrance to mining more than 30 years ago.

The company, founded in 1962, entered the mining industry in 1991 and, about a decade later, pioneered modular cooling in underground mining.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, said the Netherlands-born company – now active in about 80 countries globally – has played an evolutionary role in mine power and temperature control.

“In 1991, Aggreko secured its first ever mining project, which was at the Benambra zinc and copper mine in Victoria, Australia,” Whyte said. “At the time we were the only company to put 1 MW of power technology into a modular container. Later, in 2001, we pioneered modular underground mine cooling in the rental market, also in Australia. Prior to that, mines would purchase fixed cooling and ventilation systems for their operations.

“Some other mines we supported early on included Mt Dimer, Youanmi, Century Zinc, Granites Gold Mine and the Olympic Dam expansion – which is Australia’s largest open-pit mine. Some of these mines are still around today.”

Whyte said energy services at mines had expanded since then.

“Where we once supported mines operationally with their short-term power and cooling needs, we organically developed into an engineering solutions provider, now active at more than 300 mines globally,” he said. “Over time, our solutions have also become more complex from providing airflow modelling for underground cooling and ventilation to providing fully hybridised micro-grids.

“Of the limited number of off-grid renewable power plants in the world, Aggreko owns and operates three of them, and this is something we are very proud of. Where it was once common for miners to own and operate their own power plants on-site and for us to supply bridging power, it is becoming more common for us to build, own and operate the power plant for a mine’s life.”

Whyte said digitalisation has been one of the biggest transformers of the mining industry, helping assist with emissions reduction and safety improvements.

“Digital technology provides the data needed to reduce unpaid down-time on mine sites for instance or discover how solar and batteries behave under cloud cover,” he said.

Aggreko Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy, said Aggreko was a truly global power provider and its experience in a wide variety of industries, applications and locations were part of the company’s success.

“Aggreko is truly a global company, and consistency across our businesses practices has earned us a reputation for having the highest ethical, environmental, equipment and safety standards wherever we go in the world,” he said.

Aggreko has a team of more than 6,000 people who operate across 80 countries. It has a diverse team including engineers, data scientists, technicians, and power station operators – who demonstrate there aren’t any conditions too cold, hot, or tough to operate in, the company says.

A recent project included staff enduring extreme environments of the Andes-mountain ranges in Salares Norte, Chile, to establish a hybrid and solar power plant 4,500 m above sea level. Another project saw teams transport equipment via icy roads to provide 6.5 MW of power and heating to a silver mine (Silvertip) in British Columbia, Canada. It was there that within three months Aggreko installed and commissioned a virtual LNG fuel supplied power plant with a heat recovery system. The team also operates in hot climates like Africa and Australia where they establish power plants in the soaring heat or desert.

Saffy and Whyte believe mining is at the forefront of technology and innovation, and the progress being made in the industry paves the way for other global industries such as manufacturing, construction and major events.

“The mining industry has some of the most robust environmental and safety standards in the world and the innovations in the industry are truly exciting,” Saffy said.

Aggreko’s latest technologies include its 1,300 kW Ultra-Low Emissions Package – a world-first power generation system which effectively eliminates up to 99% of all controlled emissions from diesel generator exhaust streams. Emission levels are 90% lower than the next best available technology on the market.

Other technologies the company has either deployed or developing, include modular solar power; Organic Rankine Cycle technology (heat from generator exhausts converts into useable energy); renewable energy solutions (such as wind farms, solar and hydro power); mobile wind solutions and pumped, mechanical and flywheel energy storage; and fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels (which will become more prevalent in the next decade and can be switched into Aggreko’s modular power generators).

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

Zest WEG E-House powers up HIG mill at South Africa platinum mine

A purpose-designed electrical house (E-House) from Zest WEG is driving one of the largest new high intensity grinding (HIG) mills in the southern hemisphere, recently installed at a platinum mine in South Africa’s North West province, Zest WEG says.

The size and operational parameters of the mill place demanding requirements on the equipment in the E-House, according to Tyrone Willemse, Senior Proposals Manager at Zest WEG. Constructed in South Africa incorporating a range of products – produced and distributed by Zest WEG – the E-House design also delivers world-class standards of safety and fire protection, the company said.

“The key benefit of the prefabricated E-House concept is the time it saves the customer and the high level of quality that can be ensured through its construction and testing under ideal workshop conditions,” he says. “The process is also streamlined as the complete project falls under a single provider, who takes full responsibility for delivering on-time and on-budget.”

This E-House includes the HIG mill’s variable speed drive (VSD) and all its associated auxiliary circuits and starters. A range of WEG transformers and motors are also part of this project. With its extensive in-house expertise, Zest WEG generates fully detailed designs for its E-Houses, using 3D computer assisted design software.

“For this application, the E-House consists of a medium voltage room and a low voltage (LV) room,” Willemse notes. “The MV room houses the well-known WEG MVW01 VSD, with an integral oil type 12 pulse transformer manufactured locally at our transformer manufacturing facility in Wadeville.”

Willemse explains that the WEG MVW01 makes use of high voltage insulated-gate bipolar transistors, which lower the amount of power electronics needed. This also reduces the mean time to repair, so that operations can be quickly restored in the event of a major fault on the system.

“The WEG MVW01 powers a WEG 3.75 MW MGR eight pole 3.3 kV directly-coupled squirrel cage induction motor,” says Willemse. “This motor is specially designed to be vertically mounted to meet the HIG mill’s operation and maintenance requirements.”

Both the motor and the VSD were designed to meet the aggressive torque requirements during some phases of the mill’s operation. The combination handles the torque requirements that periodically exceed 170% for more than three minutes, giving the customer the necessary flexibility, according to Zest WEG. The LV room contains the motor control centre (MCC) that feeds all the auxiliary circuits of the mill.

“Importantly, we have installed the newly arc-proof type-tested IEC 61641 WEG board, which has the best rating for personal protection,” Willemse says. “In the event of an internal arc, the MCC is fitted with an explosion duct that transfers any explosion safely out of the building.”

Another aspect of the safety features is a fire detection and suppression system that meets the customer’s demands. The two rooms are fitted with their own fully automated room-flooding suppression systems, which can flood the space with gas that douses electrical fires but is not dangerous to humans.

“The system can detect smoke at a very early stage, and can also check against false triggering,” Willemse says. “More than two smoke detectors must react, activating a loud bell for evacuation or cancellation, before flooding takes place.”

The LV room also houses WEG CFW11 LV VSDs, which feed premium efficient WEG motors. The E-House’s small power and lighting circuits are fed by one of Zest WEG’s locally manufactured SANS780-compliant transformers.

Voltvision brings energy efficiency enhancements to Endeavour’s Hounde mine

Voltvision, the high voltage (HV) electrical data analytics business, has announced the successful completion of Phase 1 of what it says is a pioneering energy efficiency and operational enhancement project at Endeavour Mining’s Houndé Mine in Burkina Faso.

The results of this initial phase have proved so constructive that Voltvision has been commissioned to roll out the project to all of Endeavour Mining’s mines and development projects across West Africa, it said.

This project hinges on Voltvision’s big data software solution, a program that has been designed by mining specialists and engineers to optimise energy consumption and improve predictive maintenance on all high voltage equipment used on mine sites. This software is coupled with a data extraction cube, a secure ‘plug-and-play’ analytics device installed on a mine’s network. This device extracts and transmits hundreds of energy-related data points to the cloud-based software using Wi-Fi /4G networks, Voltvision explained.

Manoli Yannaghas, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Voltvison, says: “The Phase One roll out of this project was intended to provide high resolution data extraction in support of existing data systems presented in mobile- and PC-based dashboards. This allowed the mine’s technical team to monitor incoming grid power quality and the power quality across the Houndé power system. It has also allowed the accurate recording and logging of power usage as well as the movement from source to point of use again across the whole HV and MV networks.

“Phase 1 of the project commenced in December 2021 when the Cube device was remotely installed across Hounde’s high voltage electrical network, with assistance from the Endeavour team. The ‘plug-and-play’ nature of the device allowed the project to commence with minimal hassle and zero downtime in production.

“In the four months since this installation, a wide range of data points, numbering more than 200 individual points, have been collected and analysed. Early analysis of this data has facilitated a clear and comprehensive understanding of how the mine’s electrical network is behaving and how power is utilised in real time. This has made it possible for the Endeavour team to identify hidden problems and inefficiencies and understand what changes are required to achieve greater energy efficiency across the entire operation. The correction of such efficiencies can deliver quick cost savings and CO2 reduction as well as edging closer to operational excellence.”

The data recorded in this initial phase is a solid foundation for Phase 2, which is due to commence in May, he added.

“Phase 2 is intended to identify further power savings opportunities; develop early warning mechanisms for grid outages; and extract demonstrable Scope 1 and 2 GHG emission numbers. Voltvision will also provide highly accurate asset management services on capital equipment using algorithms it has developed with leading machine learning universities to provide advanced warnings of performance changes and fault development.”

Voltvision’s electrical management software is in the process of being rolled out across the rest of Endeavour’s operations, as mentioned.

Yannaghas concluded: “Through this initial Phase 1, we have formed an excellent working relationship with Endeavour Mining and are exceptionally pleased with the results produced thus far. We look forward to further engagement and assisting the company in optimising its HV electrical asset base, realising cost savings and facilitating the decarbonisation of its mine and project portfolio.”

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.

Total Eren, Chariot and Tharisa to build solar PV plant at PGM mine

Total Eren, a renewable energy independent power producer, and Chariot, an Africa-focused transitional energy company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tharisa plc to develop, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain a solar photovoltaic project for the supply of electricity to the Tharisa PGM mine, in the North West province, South Africa.

The solar PV project is initially anticipated to be 40 MW peak with demand expected to increase over the life of the Tharisa Mine. This MoU is the first step towards implementation of the project and signing of a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for the supply of electricity on a take-or-pay basis, the companies said.

Fabienne Demol, Executive Vice-President & Global Head of Business Development of Total Eren, said: “We are very pleased to be entering into this MoU with Tharisa. Through our partnership with Chariot, we are keen to assist mining companies in Africa to reduce their carbon intensity and energy costs, via implementing renewable power solutions into their operations. We are eager to bring our global expertise in solar generation to Tharisa mine and we look forward to delivering further renewable projects for our mining customers in Africa and worldwide.”

Benoit Garrivier, Chariot Transitional Power CEO, added: “This is a great outcome for Chariot’s Transitional Power division and demonstrates the financial and sustainable benefits that our offering can bring to mining companies operating in Africa. The Tharisa team are very forward looking and understand that the addition of a solar PV project at their mine in South Africa will bring significant benefits to the business. Together with Total Eren, we are excited to start working on the financing and development of the project and we will update the market further on this and other opportunities that we are progressing in due course.”

Tebogo Matsimela, Head of ESG at Tharisa, said: “Tharisa plays a significant part in the global energy transition movement, and we are committed to producing these key metals in a sustainable manner. The solar power solution provided by Total Eren is but one of several steps we are taking to ensure our flagship Tharisa Mine, which has a life of mine of over 50 years, has a reduced carbon footprint.

“Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and ultimately become net carbon neutral by 2050.”

Tharisa Minerals produces PGM concentrate and metallurgical- and specialty-grade chrome concentrates from a shallow open-pit mine near Rustenburg, North West province. The Genesis and Voyager plants at the operation have a combined nameplate capacity of 4.8 Mt/y of run of mine.

Nickel Mines targets further CO2 cut with SESNA solar power MoU

Nickel Mines Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PT Sumber Energi Surya Nusantara (SESNA) to implement, if certain economic parameters are met, 200 MWp of solar capacity within the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP).

The MoU provides for SESNA to undertake the role of “Project Initiator” for developing, financing, constructing, commissioning, owning and operating a 200 MWp solar farm project to significantly scale up the supply of renewable energy to the company’s Hengjaya Nickel (HNI) and Ranger Nickel (RNI) nickel processing operations within the IMIP.

Under the proposed agreement, Nickel Mines will be the long-term offtake partner for SESNA and will not be required to contribute any capital funding. The indicative tariff for electricity is considered competitive with other similar scale solar projects, the company said.

SESNA is, Nickel Mines says, an established and leading solar development company in Indonesia, owning and operating a portfolio of solar feed-in-tariff (FIT) and microgrid projects as well as providing services and solutions such as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capabilities, solar financing and other technical development support to commercialise solar projects.

The potential 200 MWp solar project supplements the existing 396 kWp plus 250 kWh battery storage project which the company has entered into with SESNA for integration into the facilities at the Hengjaya mine (pictured), which is scheduled to commission this quarter. The Hengjaya mine, which hosts a JORC compliant resource of 185 Mt at 1.3% Ni and 0.08% Co, currently sources its power from diesel-powered generators. It is anticipated that the Hengjaya mine solar project will reduce diesel consumption by approximately 31 million litres over the 25-year projected project life.

Nickel Mines Managing Director, Justin Werner, said: “It is estimated this solar project could supply up to 20% of HNI and RNI’s current electricity requirements and, in doing so, account for a material reduction in annual CO2 emissions. This solar project marks an important first step in our ’Future Energy’ collaboration with our partner Shanghai Decent and our joint commitment to a more sustainable future for Indonesia’s nickel industry.”

The solar project may be implemented in stages with SESNA committing to finalise and deliver a project proposal within three months of signing the MoU, at which point the company may elect to proceed or terminate the MoU at its discretion.

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%.

IMARC ready to explore the race to decarbonise the energy sector

The global effort to decarbonise the energy sector is underway, and the race to net zero is shaping up to be an investment opportunity to define the decades to come, the organisers of the IMARC conference report.

Research suggests that as the price of adopting green energy continues to fall, so will the global demand for fossil-fuelled energy sources. Eventually a tipping point will be reached, and fossil fuel dependent energy companies’ assets will become ‘stranded’ unless they can adapt or pivot toward new sustainable energy practices.

As nations in the first world expand and those from the second and third world modernise, their energy needs will do the same, meaning more electricity, more hydrogen, more nuclear and more yet-to-be-discovered energy sources will be needed than ever before.

For the companies participating in Australia’s biggest mining conference, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in 2022, staying in the race to decarbonise is essential.

Tipping point

Research suggests the tipping point for fossil-fuelled energy providers will come when costs for renewables reach parity with the lowest-cost traditional fossil alternatives, and this could be much sooner than 2050.

For such companies, demonstrating the long-term value to investors in a soon-to-be stranded asset class is becoming an increasingly hard sell. But it does not have to be. By pivoting toward renewable energy and investing in a low-carbon future, companies can ensure their survival after net zero.

EDL CEO, James Harman, said the industry was making the slow but sure transition to decarbonisation.

“The world has long relied on cheap, plentiful fossil fuels to power economies,” Harman said.

“In the early 2010s, EDL started looking to solar and wind generation as alternatives to fossil fuels across our portfolio, particularly for off-grid customers in remote Australia who were largely dependent on diesel- or gas-fuelled generation.

“In recent years, we have enjoyed great success with our hybrid energy solutions, helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint, but importantly maintaining and improving reliability whilst holding or reducing price. For example, our Agnew Hybrid Renewable Microgrid at Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine provides the mine with energy that is an average of 50-60% from renewable sources, with 99.99% reliability.”

“EDL was one of the pioneers in the Australian landfill gas sector in the 1990s and, today, we are leading the way in high renewable energy fraction islanded microgrids. We are also exploring the introduction of landfill gas to renewable natural gas/biomethane technology to the Australian market, and the economic production of green hydrogen.”

ESG reinvigorating investment

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks are, at their core, risk assessment tools that consider the effect climate change will have on investors’ value creation opportunities. In June 2021, research and advisory experts, Gartner, released some jaw-dropping facts about the growing importance of ESG credentials.

According to Gartner, more than 90% of banks monitor ESG, along with 24 global credit ratings agencies, 71% of fixed income investors and more than 90% of insurers. Media mentions of ESG data, ratings or scores grew by 30% year-over-year in 2020, and 67% of banks screen their loan portfolios for ESG risks.

Harman acknowledged that it was important for attitudes and practices across the energy sector to change.

“Given that electricity generators are some of Australia’s biggest carbon emitters and most of the product generated is carbon intensive and derived from fossil fuels – the most important ESG themes for energy companies are climate change action and environmental stewardship,” he said.

“This includes investment in research and development into zero emissions technologies such as distributed energy solutions, energy storage and alternative renewable fuels as well as carbon capture & storage.”

ABB Australia Head of Mining, Nik Gresshoff, is encouraged by the innovation and progress he’s seeing in electrification and hydrogen technologies. ABB Australia is a Gold Sponsor of IMARC in 2022.

“The challenge for mining companies now is to map out their own journey, and to weigh up the gains that can be achieved now through automation, along with the investment required to get to net zero,” Gresshoff said.

Gresshoff recommends companies first define what their carbon footprint is, and what falls within their scope for decarbonisation, before beginning a net-zero journey. “Are they focusing on direct and indirect emissions initially or including the whole supply chain from the outset?” he asked.

“The next step is to examine the technology and what is currently possible to decarbonise. Having a clear understanding of where the company assets are in their lifecycle is critical, as well as an understanding of what technology is available and what technology could fit with the current operation.”

Can dinosaurs survive the Ice Age?

Fossil fuels may be going the way of the dinosaurs that created them, but economies of the future will still require the massive infrastructure frameworks and operational capacities to meet current and future energy needs.

In fact, economists have suggested an overnight collapse of the energy giants could result in massive job cuts and instability leading to a global economic recession.

As was made clear at the Glasgow COP 26 Summit, there is a ‘wall of money’ that will be available for the energy companies of the future – whether that is retrofitting existing gas pipelines for transport of liquid hydrogen or utilising closed coal mine sites for new nuclear power sites, or any number of ways that energy companies can and are pivoting.
EDL believes there is an opportunity for many technologies to play their part.

“There won’t be a one-size-fits-all energy solution that achieves affordability, reliability and sustainability for our diverse country,” Harman said.

“Large conventional power stations are and will continue to be replaced with lower emissions plant with support to make them more dispatchable, allowing cheaper renewable energy to be scheduled when available.

“For shorter-term storage, batteries are feasible but longer-term storage is currently uneconomic. There are a few potential options to resolve this including pumped hydro, new kinds of batteries and hydrogen.

“Based on our experience in the USA, we also see the potential for renewable natural gas (RNG), or biomethane, to play a significant part in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables in the industrial, heating, power and transport industries. RNG production is a technologically mature, ready-to-scale product that is deployable now.”

EDL’s James Harman will be sharing further insights on net zero at the upcoming IMARC in Melbourne, Australia, taking place on January 31-February 2, 2022.

IM is a media sponsor of IMARC

GenusPlus Group to construct 98 km overhead transmission line for Fortescue

GenusPlus Group Ltd says it has secured Construction of Civils and Lines contracts with a value of circa-A$30 million ($21.5 million) with Pilbara Energy Company Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.

The contracts relate to the construction of a 98 km, 220 kV single circuit overhead transmission line for the project.

GenusPlus’ Managing Director, David Riches, said: “It is a compliment to the team and recognition for GenusPlus that Fortescue has awarded our business with further contracts for the next stage of the Pilbara Transmission Project.

“We look forward to further growing our relationship with Fortescue on this significant project.”

The Pilbara Transmission Project consists of 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting Fortescue’s mine sites.

GenusPlus will increase its capability in transmission line construction with the acquisition of additional specialised drilling equipment that is used to create the footing of transmission towers providing the opportunity for GenusPlus to expand its internal drilling capability, it said. The cost of the equipment is approximately A$6 million and will be debt-funded through existing equipment finance facilities.

Riches said: “Internalising the drilling services that relate directly to the construction of powerlines will provide GenusPlus with added flexibility and control of the critical path of construction timelines.”

Fortescue’s Chichester Hub iron ore operations hit solar power milestone

Fortescue Metals Group’s Chichester Hub operations are now being powered by solar energy following the completion of the 60 MW Alinta Energy Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, the miner confirmed.

Completion of the project with Alinta Energy marks a major milestone in the delivery of Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy, as the company works towards its ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2030 for Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

The solar farm will power up to 100% of daytime operations at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak iron ore sites, displacing around 100 million litres of diesel every year. The remaining power requirements will be met through battery storage and gas generation at Alinta Energy’s Newman Power Station, FMG said.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said: “The completion of this project is a practical example of Fortescue delivering on its ambitious carbon neutrality target and demonstrates that renewables can power the energy needs of Australia’s mining and resources sector.

“As Fortescue transitions from a pure-play iron ore producer to a green energy and resources company, this milestone is a critical part of our Pilbara Energy Connect project which, together with the Chichester solar farm, will see 25% of Fortescue’s stationary energy powered by solar.”

Alinta Energy’s MD & CEO, Jeff Dimery, said: “Together, we’ve built a benchmark renewable project with an ambitious partner and, given the abundance of high quality renewables resources in the Pilbara, we look forward to supporting others to do the same.

“I’m very proud of the team and thank Fortescue, our partners, contractors and suppliers, NAIF, ARENA, and, in particular the Nyiyaparli People, on whose country the solar farm sits.”

The project also includes the construction of approximately 60 km of new transmission lines, linking Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines to the solar farm and Alinta Energy’s existing energy generation infrastructure in Newman.