The Future of Zero Emission Mining in Australia

30% of Australia’s diesel generator use comes from the mining and construction sector, meaning our leading mining companies can have a real impact on reducing our emissions.

In fact, the Mining Council of Australia (MCA) confirmed in 2021 that the industry will strive to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To remain competitive and meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, Australian mining companies need to prioritise decarbonisation. 

So, what does a ‘zero emission future’ look like for Australia’s mining industry?  

The Current Climate

As net zero targets loom, the demand for materials like copper, nickel, lithium and cobalt will skyrocket. These are essential materials for producing renewable technologies like batteries, electric vehicles and wind turbines.   

“Australia has a comparatively large share of the critical minerals needed to power the low emissions economies of the future. By helping meet surging demand for these resources, the mining sector can help Australia and the world achieve net zero emissions by 2050…” – Rob Wilson, Resources Executive Director, CEFC. 

However, this opportunity also presents a challenge.  

To meet increasing demand while adhering to ESG expectations around sustainability, the mining industry must shift from its COheavy ‘business as usual’ model. 

3 Low Emission Mining Power Alternatives

Transitioning towards net zero on your mine site is not as difficult as you may think.  

Implementing clean energy technologies can help mines directly address scope 1 and 2 emissions profitably, while simultaneously meeting ESG expectations.  

In fact, sustainable power sources such as solar, hydrogen and battery energy storage can address between 30-50% of your mine site’s current emission output. 

Let’s review some practical examples of how these technologies work within the mining industry. 

1. Hydrogen

The Australian Government recently announced a $2B ‘Hydrogen Headstart’ program to accelerate our renewable hydrogen industry. Funding will lower the commercial price of hydrogen, making it a more viable power source for the mining industry.  

Hydrogen powered generators like the GEH2 are purpose built for multiple applications, including Australian mining. With fewer moving parts and lower operating temperatures, hydrogen generators have greater energy efficiency and lower maintenance costs in comparison to a diesel generator. 

In the case of EODev’s GEH2, the generator uses hydrogen with a Toyota fuel cell and a lithium-ion phosphate battery to produce 100kVA of instant power. It’ll comfortably power mine site applications such as: 

  • Offices 
  • Security systems 
  • Electric vehicle charging stations 
  • Site lighting 

To learn more about the GEH2, see our list of FAQs here.

2. Hybrid Power Systems

A hybrid power system uses a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy sources to generate power, on or off the grid. Popular configurations include: 

  • BESS + diesel/hydrogen generator + solar 
  • BESS + diesel/hydrogen generator 
  • BESS + solar 

In comparison to relying on a diesel generator alone, a hybrid power system delivers a reliable, efficient power supply for your mine site. Reducing generator run time from 24/7 to just a few hours a day (if that), users experience less noise, longer generator lifespan and a lower carbon footprint. 

Hybrid power systems allow our customers to take what we call a ‘bite sized chunk’ approach to decarbonisation. There’s no need to commit 100% to renewable energy, while the OpEx and CO2 savings along the way are often significant. 

3. Battery Energy Storage

Battery energy storage systems (or BESS) are essentially big batteries. Acting as a standalone replacement for diesel generators or integrating into a hybrid power system, BESS is playing a key role in decarbonising Australia’s mining sector.  

BESS like the POWR2 POWRBANK work seamlessly alongside your existing fleet of diesel or gas gensets, so they don’t require a complete transition to green energy. Using lithium-ion battery technology, these units can play a key role in reducing your sites CO2 emissions, fuel consumption and generator run-time. 

There are countless applications and use cases for BESS on a mine site, such as powering site facilities, HVAC and security systems. 

Implementing Net Zero – First Steps

Step 1: Monitor & Assess

Get to know your site, gather power requirements of key machinery and identify ways to implement more energy efficient appliances.  

Alternatively, Blue Diamond can send a technician to your site to conduct an onsite power analysis. We’ll identify opportunities and recommend a solution to optimise efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.   

Step 2: Research

Start researching proven applications and use cases for renewable energy systems in the mining sector. This will bring peace of mind knowing the equipment can withstand the demanding power loads and conditions of your mine site.  

Step 3: Get In Contact

Lastly, get in contact with a specialised clean energy solutions supplier like Blue Diamond Machinery. From here, we’ll package up a low or zero emission solution to help you achieve fuel, CO2 and OpEx savings. 

Get The Right Advice, Contact Us Today

Blue Diamond Machinery has been powering the industries that power Australia’s economy for over a decade. Now, we’re helping them transition to an emission-free future. 

Whatever stage your business is at, we have the know-how and expertise to recommend the right solution.  

For advice on taking the first steps to reduce your onsite emissions without compromising productivity or efficiency, get in touch with the team today.