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Renewable Energy and The Mining Industry

by Steven Randall

  In June this year, the group Energy and Mines out of Toronto Canada held the Mines and Energy Conference in Perth, Western Australia.     In light of the massive growth in Renewable energy in Australia generally, and the renewed surge in mining activity in this state, the conference was very timely, and drew together numbers of companies from both mining sector and the energy sector

  At about the same time, Business Maps Australia was preparing to relaunch it's new and updated 2018 Australian National Renewable Energy map; the rapid growth of this sector has seen many new projects planned and approved, necessitating a full update of our 2017 map displays.

 So, in conjunction with our good friends at Aspermont Publications, and after discussions with Energy and Mines of Toronto, we were officially approved to release the new map at the conference, to over 300 delegates from around Australia and overseas.

 Renewable Energy is just starting to have a significant influence in the mining sector, as the following examples will show, and the sector is now grappling with the implications of this new energy source...


 One of the first companies to look at Renewables was Sandfire Resources, and they have built a combined 10 MW Solar / Battery storage facility at their Degrussa Copper / Gold mine north of Meekatharra...

 This power system is built to compliment the large Diesel generation plant already in place, and the Solar plant has the capacity to save the company nearly 500,000 litres of diesel a month, or 25 million litres over 5 years - an enormous cost saving and a lot of CO2 not created.

 Rio Tinto have established a multi megwatt solar power system to assist with the power needs at their Weipa Bauxite mine in northern Queensland....

The 26 MW Diesel power station will be complimented by the 6.7 MW Solar farm, saving Rio Tinto approximately 600,000 litres of Diesel per year.     The remoteness of many current and future mining operations is one of the great drawcards for looking at the new energy generation.


GMA Garnet will be setting up a combined Wind / Solar system for their Mineral sands operation in the Mid West north of Perth.

  South 32 have installed a 3- 4 MW Solar plant at their Cannington Silver - Lead mine in North West Queensland...

In operation for over 20 years, and one of the world's largest producers of lead and Silver, Cannington will utilize another new technology - relocatable modular Solar units. This plant will cover it's own costs in fuel savings, and save approximately 4000 - 6000 tons of CO2 a year.


 Oz Minerals are looking at the construction of a combined wind / solar and battery renewable energy solution to assist in the power needs for the Prominent Hill Copper Gold mine in South Australia. ...

As sometimes happens, regional growth brings the need for large power users to consider alternative sources, and now seems opportune for OZ Minerals to assess the role Renewable Energy could play in their future expansion plans.


 Last in this article, but certainly not least, Carnegie Clean Energy has secured a contract to take Solar generation out to the Oil and Gas industry....

 Carnegie have been given the task of setting up a Solar / Battery plant on board the Blacktip Gas Wellhead platform in the Bonaparte Gulf north of Wyndham This equipment will ease the need for some of the Diesel generation on the platform, and make power generation cheaper and safer in this high risk environment.


 Soo, as can be seen, the Resources sector is working keenly to look at practical integration of Clean Energy into their power generation needs; thus saving costs of production, and producing less greenhouse gases.



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