Tag Archives: Scope 1

Antofagasta’s automation and electrification journey bearing fruit

Antofagasta’s purpose of ‘Developing Mining for a Better Future’ has seen the Chile-based copper producer lead from the front in terms of the adoption of both automation and electrification.

The company launched a digital roadmap all the way back in 2017, which, over the following years, has seen it advance projects to automate blasthole drills and haulage trucks, leverage remote operation centres and integrate advanced data analytics into its decision-making process.

Backed by a digitally-literate talent pool and underwritten by a series of roadmap and plans, Antofagasta is setting itself up for the long term.

When it comes to electrification, the company has played a key role in furthering research on the use of hydrogen fuel cells in haulage applications on mine site conditions. It has also signed up as a patron in the Charge On Innovation Challenge, being one of 19 companies looking to accelerate commercialisation of interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks.

Outside of consortium projects, it has announced plans to also study and test the development of battery-powered trucks at its Antucoya operation and has outlined plans for a trolley assist pilot project at the Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile.

And, in April 2022, the company reached the goal of all its mines operating on fully renewable power.

Alan Muchnik, VP Strategy & Innovation for Antofagasta, says all of these developments epitomise the company’s overarching aims.

“The objective we have is to develop the next generation of mining practices to enable growth and reduce our company’s environmental footprint,” he told IM.

In addition to the digital roadmap the company outlined five years ago, Antofagasta has been carrying out all its electrification projects under the guise of an Electromobility Plan – part of its wider climate change strategy.

Following the achievement of its previous emissions reduction target of cutting both its Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tonnes of CO2e between 2018 and 2022 – a goal it achieved two years early – the company set a more ambitious target in 2021. This is looking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – in line with Chile’s national commitment – and reduce emissions by 30% by 2025, relative to 2020 performance. One element of the company’s efforts to reduce emissions has, as mentioned, seen its operations run solely from renewable energy as of April this year.

According to Antofagasta’s own calculations, in 2020, two-thirds of its greenhouse gas emissions from diesel combustion were attributable to its mine haulage trucks.

Komatsu 980E-5 trucks at Esperanza Sur (part of Centinela)

“In this respect, Antofagasta is actively participating in initiatives that seek to replace the diesel used by mining haulage trucks,” Muchnik said.

“As part of that electromobility roadmap, we have considered our participation in early-adoption projects with a view to pilot and scale promising technologies.”

With the HYDRA Consortium – which includes Antofagasta, ENGIE, Mining3, CSIRO Chile, Liebherr and Mitsui & Co – specifically, the company has been one of the driving forces of hydrogen haulage adoption on mine site conditions.

It has confirmed that it will test a fuel cell and battery powertrain propulsion system at its Centinela mine, with the first HYDRA prototype expected to start functional testing shortly. This will allow Antofagasta to assess the powertrain’s behaviour and performance under real mine conditions, including at high altitude with suspended dust. It will also help establish technical and safety protocols for hydrogen use at scale in mining, which will be vital for the fuel’s successful deployment across the industry.

The trolley assist project at Los Pelambres under study, meanwhile, consists of implementing a trolley system on, first, uphill ramps. This will consist of one lane of a two-lane ramp, which will allow for trucks coming behind to leave the trolley and overtake a stopped truck still on the line.

“Some of these projects may bring an early opportunity to transform specific sites as we transition towards the longer-term prevailing solution to implement at our sites and help reduce our Scope 1 footprint,” Muchnik said.

“Each mine has their unique characteristics and different technologies may become more attractive depending on those characteristics or may become complementary in enabling that diesel replacement.”

Of course, automating the haulage and blasthole drilling processes will help the company reduce its Scope 1 emissions through more efficient operations. It will also help offset some of the higher costs of inputs and inflation that come with operating in Chile.

Similarly, all of Antofagasta’s sites have strong data analytics teams to identify opportunities for efficiency gains and continuous improvement.

Reflecting on the gradual rollout of automation across the company’s operations, Muchnik referred to the overarching roadmap the company outlined in 2017.

“This roadmap considered different strategic programs with rollout options that improve productivity and safety, with automation being a relevant dimension,” he said. “It was built on the concept of knowledge transfer to enable other companies of the group to benefit and learn from the experiences at specific sites.”

That has worked from the looks of it, going from Epiroc Pit Viper autonomous drill deployments at Los Pelambres to the rollout of the technology at Esperanza Sur (part of Centinela).

A fleet of 11 autonomous electric drive Komatsu 980E-5 trucks have also gone live at Esperanza Sur over this time frame.

“Another good part of that is the Integrated Remote Operating Centres (IROC) we have setup to support these operations,” Muchnik said. “We recently opened an IROC for Centinela in the city of Antofagasta and, following the same transfer process, Los Pelambres is expected to go live with their IROC here in Santiago, in the second half of 2022.”

Integrated Remote Operations Centre for Centinela, based in the city of Antofagasta

Muchnik says one of the many benefits of the IROCs is the ability to attract and retain talent for Antofagasta’s operations.

“It is not just about bringing in new talent but working with our people to be allow them to move with this transformation and become digitally literate to help us prepare for an autonomous and remotely-operated future,” he said.

An in-house digital academy that Muchnik and his colleagues launched in 2020 has been vital in this process.

“It has enabled a different mindset within our workforce, preparing them for the transition through training and learning.

“This has ensured all of our employees go through the journey with us.”

RPMGlobal to create Emissions Management Software solution with Eden Suite deal

RPMGlobal (RPM) has entered into an agreement with Eden Suite Pty Ltd to acquire a copy of its Environmental Data Management and Reporting Software, Eden Suite.

This acquisition provides RPM with the exclusive worldwide rights to the intellectual property in the Eden Suite software for use in the mining and quarrying industries, along with the ability to extend and integrate the use of the software inside RPM’s suite of software products, it said.

This latest announcement follows closely from the recent acquisitions by RPM of two environmental, social and governance (ESG) consulting and advisory businesses – Blueprint Environmental Strategies and Nitro Solutions.

This acquisition, RPMGlobal says, is strategically important as it will be the first software solution within a brand-new Sustainability vertical in the technology division.

Richard Mathews, RPMGlobal’s CEO, stated, “RPM’s ESG consulting and advisory division has an enviable reputation in ESG matters and the establishment of a dedicated technology vertical focused on ESG technology will further bolster their credentials.

“RPM has a lot of ESG capability already built into its software products to address topics such as emissions simulation, disturbance scheduling/reporting and avoidance zoning. This strategic acquisition provides RPM’s mining customers with a proven ESG focused solution that has been specifically built and tailored for the sole purposes of supporting users with their environmental management and reporting requirements.”

Eden Suite has been supporting carbon management for almost 10 years and was initially developed to capture the fundamental mechanics of annual emissions reporting. This capability can also be applied to the annual National Pollutant Inventories (NPI) and other regulatory greenhouse gas emission reporting requirements. It does this by streamlining the capture of usages for anything that creates an emission output for an organisation, RPMGlobal explained. Usages of emissions sources can be manually entered or automatically integrated through direct data linkages.

The solution has been designed to make it easier for organisations to proactively track, forecast and subsequently report their emissions outputs.

“One of the major challenges faced by miners with emissions reporting is that of data capture, which is a critical component of the regulatory reporting framework,” the company said. “Eden Suite is configured to mirror how an organisation operates. Data is captured in a manner allowing for auditability and transparency, ensuring material disclosures in relation to carbon are accurately calculated and reported.”

RPM’s Emissions Management solution will be entirely web-based, and cloud delivered and is configured to reflect an organisation’s asset hierarchy. Inputs are then measured by vehicle, fleet or at an individual asset level allowing granular reporting and flexibility of changes which is important for historical and auditable reporting.

Mathews continued: “Mining organisations are being required to undertake an increasing amount of time-sensitive statutory reporting for ESG and this can no longer be reliably delivered through the use of Excel spreadsheets. With the RPM Emissions Management Software solution, a site or an entire organisation can generate annualised emissions submissions that can be summarised into daily emissions trends per activity or even source. Having a solution with real-time data capture allows mining clients to proactively monitor and manage their progress across Scope 1, 2 and 3 inventories.”

Eden Suite’s CEO, Peter Robertson, stated: “RPM is ideally positioned within the mining industry to further the growth of this software solution within that market. RPM is an industry leader in the mining consulting and advisory space and has a proven track record developing and integrating technology. We are pleased to have such a strong partnership with such a respected and progressive company.”

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.

Rio Tinto backs accelerated Scope 1 and 2 carbon emission cuts with $7.5 billion of investments

Rio Tinto has outlined a new target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target. To achieve this, it is setting aside around $7.5 billion of direct investments between 2022 and 2030.

Unveiled during an investor seminar this week, Rio said a 15% reduction in emissions is now targeted for 2025, five years earlier than previously stated, relative to its 2018 baseline of 32.6 Mt (CO2 equivalent – equity basis).

In recognition of the broader carbon footprint of the commodities it produces, Rio says it will accelerate its investment in R&D and development of technologies that enable its customers to decarbonise. Working in partnership with governments, suppliers, customers, academia and others, Rio intends to continue to develop technologies like ELYSIS™ for carbon-free aluminium and multiple pathways to produce green steel.

To meet additional demand created by the global drive to net zero emissions, Rio Tinto will prioritise growth capital in commodities vital for this transition with an ambition to double growth capital expenditure to about $3 billion a year from 2023, it said.

Rio Tinto can decarbonise, pursue growth and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders due to its strong balance sheet, world-class assets and focus on capital discipline, it explained.

Some key points from the presentation include:

  • Decarbonisation of the Pilbara will be accelerated by targeting the rapid deployment of 1 GW of wind and solar power. This would abate around 1 Mt of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure and support early electrification of mining equipment;
  • Full electrification of the Pilbara system, including all trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations, will require further gigawatt-scale renewable deployment and advances in fleet technologies
  • Options to provide a greener steelmaking pathway for Pilbara iron ore are being investigated, including with biomass and hydrogen;
  • Options are progressing to switch the Boyne Island and Tomago smelters in Australia to renewable energy, which will require an estimated circa-5 GW (equity basis) of solar and wind power, along with a robust “firming solution”;
  • Development of ELYSIS to eliminate carbon emissions from the smelting process is progressing, with commercial scale technology on track for 2024.