Energy and Mines


Improving environmental and energy management on site

Improving environmental and energy management on site
August 30
08:01 2017

Goro Mine Tailings Dam By Barsamuphe (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Pressure is mounting on mining companies to ensure they’re operating within their social licenses, Deloitte National Mining Leader Nicki Ivory says. Stakeholders have been questioning whether the industry is doing so, in light of a spate of accidents and concerns about climate change.

The industry is making inroads into renewable energy, she asserts, citing Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper-gold operations in Western Australia. The facility now boasts a hybrid solar-diesel system, with solar generation supplying about 20 per cent of the mine’s annual power demand.

“They [Sandfire] were some of the early adopters of using available incentives to build a renewables project next to their mine at relatively low cost to create a sustainable power source well beyond the life of the mine,” Ivory said.

With energy amounting to 30% of operating costs, companies are beginning to take a more comprehensive, strategic approach to energy management. This approach should include demand management as well as procurement, Ivory advises – a position supported by a new report from Deloitte. The report, Tracking the Trends 2017, explores the top 10 trends mining companies will face in the coming year.

“The supply side has historically been the focus – where companies manage the cost of where they buy the energy from – rather than looking at it far more holistically across not just the financial but the environmental and social areas as well. We call it the triple bottom line of energy management.”

The analysis recommends reducing energy consumption across the board; building internal capabilities around energy management; setting up a governance structure; clarifying goals and targets; and fostering an energy-conscious culture. It also advises developing “dry” processing techniques that conserve Australia’s water resources.

Read the full article at Australian Mining.

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Kate Dougherty

Kate Dougherty