An Introduction To Decarbonisation In The Mining Industry

Energy is a significant expense within the mining industry; energy costs can account for as much as 10-40% of a mine’s total operating costs. Mining requires large amounts of energy, and the industry’s energy use generates a significant amount of carbon emissions as a consequence. For both cost and sustainability, mining is increasingly turning towards industrial decarbonisation. Eight organisations have aligned their decarbonisation plans with international goals for net-zero emissions by 2050. However, many of the largest organisations have not yet joined them.

This could be risky; Wood Mackenzie’s research director and global head of multi-commodity research, James Whiteside, believes that “miners are likely to increasingly be held to account not only for their own emissions but also for those that occur from the use of their commodities that turn up downstream in many sectors of the economy.” If this is the case, the goals for decarbonisation industry leaders set could be significant.

Currently, when it comes to decarbonising industry goals vary. Companies such as South32, Rio Tinto, and BHP Group have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Others such as Fortescue Metals Group and Anglo American have committed to achieving this goal by 2040. Wheaton Precious Metals states it has already reached carbon neutral status.

Despite this, many of the world’s largest mining companies have not set specific goals. Notably, Fresnillo stated that its greenhouse emissions increased in 2019 due to the operation’s growing demand for electricity, but it has committed to obtaining 75% of its electricity from renewables.

In an industry where energy costs run high, major savings can be achieved by making sure your operation uses correctly specified pumps. 85% of a pump’s cost is the energy used to run it, and it has been estimated that up to 30% of installed rotating pumps are larger than necessary. This means they use more energy and cost more than necessary. Replacing a pump with a more appropriately sized option could yield savings of up to 50%. Work with your supervisor to buy a suitably sized pump appropriate for your application.

Atlantic Pumps are committed to decarbonisation. We’ve recently been certified with ISO14001, a mark of our commitment to sustainability and helping the environment. We've reduced energy wastage from pumps and can reduce energy use from pumps on the average site by 20%. We also take decarbonisation seriously within our own company, regularly auditing our environmental impact and carbon footprint. Our warehouse vehicles are electric and rechargeable, avoiding the use of petrol or gas. For energy-efficient pumps from a company committed to a sustainable approach, get in contact with Atlantic Pumps.


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