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24 September 2019

Renewable energy availability changes how we operate modern mines, fuel cars, and supply nearby communities with heating and cooling.

Renewable energy is an affordable choice for miners, who use it to crush, dig, and process minerals. Renewables (or green energy) are generated from sources that replenish over time. The most common uses of renewable energy in the mining industry involve:

  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Biodiesel
  • Geothermal energy
  • Hydropower
  • Hydrogen and fuel cell energy

Not only are renewables mitigating the effects of pollution, but also making sure new technologies function sustainably in the mining industry.

Here is how renewable energy technology is changing the mining industry for the better:

  1. Cheaper mining operations
  2. More employment opportunities for engineers
  3. Lower greenhouse gas emissions
  4. Sustainable development support
  5. Energy efficiency on mine sites

1. Solar energy lowers environmental risks

Some miners are making the switch to solar energy. Solar energy uses the sun’s radiation to create concentrated solar power (CSP) or photovoltaic power (PV), which happen to be one of the most sustainable power sources.

Among its low cost, solar energy does not contribute to environmental risks that are associated with nuclear power, water pollution, nitrogen oxides, and other harmful waste.

Read about the world’s first solar field built over mine tailings.

2. Wind energy powers the grid

One of the most popular ways to generate electricity, wind energy converts kinetic energy into a mechanical power source. In fact, the total capacity of wind turbines that were installed in 2018 reached 597 Gigawatts (GW), according to the World Wind Energy Association. Wind is also driven by direct sunlight and is used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in mines. The energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid for several types of mining operations.

3. Water conservation uses cutting edge technology

Water is an important resource for mining natural gas, coal, oil, and uranium. Fuel extraction from mine sites produce toxic wastewater. However, reprocessing nuclear or old coal plants with more water treatment technologies helps to minimise the number of withdrawals–making it better for the environment. Beyond the relationship between water and energy, the choices we make today will determine how we face the growing demand of the future.

4. Renewable energy powers machinery and operation sites

Green energy technologies enable us to create more effective ways to generate electricity for use in mines. The use of renewable energy applies to innovative measures like:

Renewable energy solutions have supported millions of communities across the globe, allowing corporations to operate in harmony with the natural world. As we continue to expand in greener resources, the mining industry is now able to carry out smarter policies, invest in cleaner solutions, and support further research to embrace its cause.

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