Oct 14, 2019

Focus on lowering emissions in mining energy mix

Focus on lowering emissions in mining energy mix

The Queensland resources sector continues to invest in new technologies to reduce emissions across the sector, a new report shows.

The Queensland Resources Council’s latest State of the Sector – a quarterly survey of resource CEOs in Queensland – found 40 per cent were investing in the research and development of low emission technologies.

“This expenditure will grow further over the next 12 months with 53 percent planning to spend more on reducing emissions and 20 percent to substantially increase spending,” QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“Energy efficiency, sometimes called the fifth fuel, is the cheapest and cleanest energy of them all. For the past nine years Aurizon has reduced emissions from trains by 19 percent by transitioning its fleet from diesel to electric.

“In another example, Anglo American has partnered with sustainable energy producer EDL to use excess gas released from coal seams to generate 108 megawatts of power from what was once a waste product.

“When asked about renewables 90 per cent view the energy source as an opportunity but are equally concerned that without careful planning, intermittent generation can risk energy security and affordability. “

Increasing energy costs had a large impact on trade-exposed industries and lowered the State’s international investment profile, he said.

“Queensland’s energy mix must be affordable, reliable and help lower emissions,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Resources companies are also doing their part to reduce emissions by incorporating more renewables into their own operations.

“In Weipa, Rio Tinto’s 1.7 megawatt solar farm generates 20 percent of the town’s daytime energy demand saving up to 2.3 million litres of diesel and 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

“South32’s Cannington mine— one of the world’s largest producers of silver and lead— opened a 7,200-panel, three megawatt solar farm in December last year which powers the mine’s accommodation, airport and sends additional power to its mining operations cutting emissions by up to 6,000 tonnes per year.

“Adani is also investing in renewable capacity. Rugby Run Solar Farm near Moranbah supplies 65 megawatts of renewable power – the equivalent of powering 23,000 regional Queensland homes and businesses each year using more than 247,000 solar panels.

“Renewables also provide an important new source of demand growth for Queensland’s minerals. Energy from coal generation requires about two kilograms of copper per kilowatt  whereas solar requires five kilograms per kilowatt.”