With more and more mining sector interest in energy efficiency and uptake of renewables, the global not-for-profit communication hub for energy efficient mineral processing, CEEC, says it is running a series of workshops to share the latest developments in this field.
The next one-day Mineral Processing and Innovation Workshop on Energy Curves, Productivity and New Gen Energy, will be held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on June 19.
This event is due to kick off with a keynote address from OZ Minerals CEO and MD, Andrew Cole, who will share his vision for steering smart energy and productivity for sustainable mining, processing and communities.
Marc Allen, CEEC Director and Technical Director at engeco, said there was a worldwide trend towards new-generation energy options such as solar, battery-electric power and hydrogen – not only in the sector but for global power generation to combat climate change.
“The paradox is that these low carbon technologies are minerals intensive, and metals such as copper, nickel, lithium and cobalt will be required in greater volumes to make this transition possible,” Allen said.
“The shift towards a decarbonised energy future has significant ramifications for the global mining industry, particularly given the energy intensive nature of comminution and mining, coupled with the remoteness of most mineral deposits.”
Allen said renewable energy sources with low carbon energy backup options and/or energy storage were becoming more and more common in mines, with one leading example being the solar project at Degrussa Copper-Gold Mine in Western Australia.
Sandfire Resources’ Degrussa Solar project, commissioned in 2016, is reported to be the world’s largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility. It supplies about 20% of the mine’s annual power requirements and has reduced emissions by close to 12,000 t/y of carbon dioxide, according to CEEC.
“South Australia is also leading the way with adopting new-gen energy. BHP is trialling zero-emission light electric vehicles at its Olympic Dam mine and has plans to progressively replace diesel fuel with lithium-ion batteries,” Allen said.
Allen said: “Newmont-Goldcorp’s target is to increase energy efficiency by 15% over five years and source 5% of its energy from renewables. It’s pleasing to see that other major mining companies are fast following suit, introducing bold targets to shrink their carbon and energy footprint.”
Another standout country is Chile, with reports of nine companies, including copper miners Codelco and Antofagasta Minerals, introducing renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
In addition to transitioning to clean energy technologies, mining operations are striving to improve the energy efficiency of comminution. In Australia, alone, copper and gold mines’ comminution processes consume 1.3% of national electricity production, as well as being key constraints to site productivity, value and mining footprint.
Speakers and panellists at the CEEC Mineral Processing and Innovation Workshop in Adelaide on June 19 will share the latest technologies and methodologies being employed to boost energy efficiency, value and productivity in processing plants and mine sites, according to CEEC.
Keynote speaker Cole will be joined by leading mining, METS and research experts from across Australia, including Energy Curve researcher Dr Cathy Evans, Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute; Professor Stephen Grano, Executive Director, Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources, University of Adelaide; and Professor Bill Skinner, Research Leader, Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia.
With data science and AI also being key drivers for improving operational efficiency and dispatch of electrical energy, workshop participants will hear from PETRA Data Science’s Managing Director, Dr Penny Stewart, and Technical Director, Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic.
Innovative METS leaders, including Greg Lane, Ausenco; Sandy Gray, Gekko Systems; and Bear Rock Solutions’ Dr Ted Bearman and Adjunct Professor Rob Dunne, will present practical advances in comminution technology.
Insights into South Australia mining and mineral processing innovations will be provided by Joe Seppelt, OZ Minerals Processing Manager at the Carrapateena copper-gold project, north of Port Augusta, and Enzo Artone, BHP Area Manager, Mill and Process Minerals, BFX Project, Olympic Dam.
To register or find out more about the workshop, which will be held at the National Wine Centre, click here.