Mine Power: Sustainable Solutions

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Malavika Bambawale Managing Director, Sustainability Solutions - APAC
Sustainability Transformation
Mining Industry
Renewable Strategy

It is no longer acceptable to find any available energy solution to get new remote mines up and running; that solution needs to be cost effective, sustainable and ‘green’.

Any mine or exploration site using diesel-powered generators is actively looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative, while the major miners are investing significant amounts in renewable projects to move their sites off fossil fuelbacked energy sources to more sustainable inputs.

These energy sourcing requirements are affecting mines both big and small, as Malavika Jain Bambawale, Managing Director, Sustainability Solutions (APAC) at ENGIE Impact, the consulting arm of electric utility company ENGIE, made clear.

gradient-quote There is an increasing interest and sense of urgency for sustainability within the mining industry, driven by investor activism, as seen with recent announcements made by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Tesla. Miners need to go beyond low-hanging fruits to answer to the above-mentioned pressures, in addition to looking into their energy mix to avoid limited decarbonisation. gradient-quote-right
Malavika Bambawale, Managing Director, Sustainability Solutions, ENGIE Impact

Just some of the solutions they are examining include renewable generation mixed with battery systems and a smaller diesel-powered element, partially displacing diesel use with LNG, fully renewable power projects and – more recently – the use of ‘green’ hydrogen.

Net zero

Many of these solutions are factored into an increasing number of mining company mission statements to get to ‘net zero’ by a certain date in the future.

Miners are going down different avenues to achieve these executive-led sustainability targets, according to Bambawale.

“There are many ways to achieve a decarbonised end goal and the roadmap an organisation chooses to get there can have a major impact on factors such as cost, risk and feasibility,” she said.

ENGIE Impact’s understanding of decarbonisation technologies, combined with internally developed software modelling tools, has been leveraged by miners such as Vale New Caledonia to find the optimal pathway. The company sets out advanced roadmaps to hit goals and creates a “tangible action plan” to ensure a phased implementation occurs.

Some common topics coming up during ENGIE Impact’s interactions with miners include ‘green’ electricity supply and decarbonising vehicle fleets. Depending on the type of operation, process-related emissions (due to chemical reactions) might also be a consideration.