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Why everyone’s buzzing about renewable mining

The mining industry and renewable energy don’t always go hand in hand, but recently such companies are starting to use more energy efficient sources to power their operations. Navigant Research reports, the amount of energy used, supplied by renewable sources, will grow from 0.1 percent to at least five percent in mining companies by 2022; in some cases researchers predict levels as high as eight percent.

The reasons mining companies are turning to renewable sources are because of the rising energy costs, remote operations, and pressure to reduce carbon footprints. Mining itself can lead to a lot of pollution and by simply adjusting its power source can be hugely beneficial to the environment. It also will ensure production is steady as remote locations often lead to somewhat unreliable power. Plus, having their own energy sources will be much cheaper than bringing in power from the grid to an isolated area.

Wind power will be the main way mining companies receive energy, with nearly 516 megawatts (MW) of capacity predicted by 2022. Solar will also provide a major energy supply of nearly 493 MW of installed capacity. According to the report, there will be more than 1,439 MW of renewable energy capacity for mining operations worldwide.

“A number of mines are already utilizing large-scale wind power, but these sites were chosen based on extreme needs and/or ideal wind characteristics,” says Kerry-Ann Adamson, research director with Navigant Research. “The industry is now at a point where it can move forward into larger and more complex deployments, potentially including energy storage technologies, which would enable a higher percentage of renewable use per mine site.” Hopefully this trend will catch on with other major manufacturers and high-energy using corporations. In the meantime, it is a nice start to show others the benefits of switching to renewable energy.

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  • http://www.miningrenewables.com Dr. Arnoldus van den Hurk

    Base metals mining consumes 3% of world electricity conminution phase. Equivalent to the electricity consumption in Germany. It is estimated that the mining, transporting ore spot at the final destination, consumes about 9% – 11% of world energy. The decline in ore grade increases every year the energy consumption per tonne of final product. No solution mining must turn to NCRE, Oil will peak many mining projects unviable. We must mine renewable energy!