Green Energy: Which miners are signposting their green credentials this morning?
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• Wind energy in the mix at Australia’s largest potash development
• Electrolysers in the desert for OZ Minerals?
• Province, Prominence release hydrogen project updates
Meeting ESG objectives is a dominating theme for mega-corporations, miners and under-fire energy giants.
Project developers and start-ups are now getting in early to safeguard this important developing investment metric.
The Mackay Sulphate of Potash project is the largest under development in WA’s burgeoning potash industries, with Agrimin (ASX:AMN) plotting to produce up to 450,000 tonnes a year of the high-equality fertiliser on the WA-NT border.
It already boasted a reasonable rate of renewables penetration in its DFS of 58% – after all, Lake Mackay’s searing sunlight is the whole reason the project exists where it does in the first place.
Results from 12 months of on-site wind monitoring have shown Agrimin could also add wind to the renewable mix, with an average wind speed at the site of 27km/h and little seasonal change.
CEO Mark Savich has touted the SoP hopeful’s potential to reduce its carbon footprint and even assess “hydrogen-based storage solutions”.
“Confirming the high quality and consistent wind resource at Lake Mackay was a critical part of our green strategy,” he said.
“Completion of long-term wind monitoring will now allow the finalisation of our power solution and supports the extremely low carbon footprint of Agrimin’s SOP fertiliser.
“This is important for our ESG objectives and for our future customers.
“Our integrated owner’s team has commenced studies to maximise renewables penetration by matching process plant power demand with the availability of renewable energy supply (load profiling), as well as assessing the potential integration of hydrogen-based storage solutions.”
Miners are gathering in the virtual world this week at the Energy and Mines Australia Virtual conference this week to signpost their renewable initiatives, with copper miner OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) the first (and certainly not last) to bring up the “E” word – electrolysers.
OZ Minerals already mines the large copper-gold deposits at its Carrapateena and Prominence Hill projects in South Australia.
On the other side of the border it is progressing studies at one of Australia’s most logistically challenging new mines, the West Musgrave copper-nickel project.
With a $1.1 billion price tag, the operation is large in scale but low in grade. But even more than that it exists in the remote Ngaanyatjarra Lands, Australia’s largest Indigenous protected area straddling the NT and SA border.
There is little existing rail, road and energy infrastructure close to the site, with OZ planning to use 100 per cent renewables in its energy mix to develop the project, which will produce 32,000tpa of copper and 26,000tpa of nickel over a 26-year life.
Despite West Musgrave’s remoteness, OZ is already touting its potential to add electrolysers to the mix.
Speaking at the Energy and Mines Australia Virtual Summit this morning, OZ package manager (power and decarbonisation) Luke Sandery said the large amount of spilled energy from its renewable plant could be put to use to lower carbon emissions from the mining fleet.
“One of the by-products of our optimum generation mix at West Musgrave is a large amount of renewable spilled energy,” he said.
“We are currently looking at ways we can better use this spilled energy, through the electrification of some of our fleet and also the possibility of installing electrolysers onsite.
“This also plays into the larger picture, and a hybrid renewable plant will underpin the future decarbonisation plans for West Musgrave, and depending on the technology that we choose, could see a doubling of our renewable infrastructure onsite.”
He later qualified that H2 was not in the base case and would only be an option when there was excess renewable energy.
Province Resources (ASX:PRL) was up on news it was garnering local support for its proposed HyEnergy green hydrogen project in Carnarvon.
The company met with stakeholders in the Mid-West WA town, securing letters of support from local stakeholders the Gascoyne Development Commission and Shire of Carnarvon.
It also appointed local management personnel to lead community engagement activities.
The explorer turned green energy play has French energy giant Total Eren on board as a proposed partner for the HyEnergy development.
Prominence emerged last month with a 20 per cent stake in Patriot, which is selling the units to Port Anthony Renewables at an average cost of $2.9m, with the units due for delivery in the final quarter of 2021.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Prominence Energy is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.