Renewables and mining? They don’t exactly seem complementary.
Renewable energy is generally viewed as the ‘better alternative’ to mining. In reality, the two rely on one another more than you might think.
The cheaper option
Renewable energy is a cheaper alternative to traditional sources of energy for many mining companies. Energy makes up around thirty percent of mining total cash operation costs. Many use solar power and wind energy in their own operations to reduce these operational costs, and in turn decrease their environmental impacts.
With increasing monetary and environmental pressures, renewable energy is quickly becoming a necessity for many companies, especially in mining. It’s also becoming much more of a realistic, rather than over expensive, opportunity, with more realistic pricing and widespread availability.
So, why aren’t more companies using it?
Firstly, companies are apprehensive to commit to long-term renewables deals. This is because mining operations are rarely consistent, long-term projects. Instead, they can be halted or put on hold for any reason. There’s also the possibility of a price drop in renewable prices, resulting in the mining company losing money.
There are also many companies and public figures who have a vested interest in non-renewable energy. This makes it more difficult for mining companies to bring renewable energy methods into their company.
In reality, movements of investments and choices into renewable energy can benefit companies both financially and reputationally in the long run. Using traditional methods will soon be more expensive than building new renewables.
More than just one way
Mining companies do not only stand to benefit off of renewable energy. In fact, the renewables sector is directly reliant on the mineral mining sector. This is similar to the way that electric cars are heavily reliant on mined battery components such as cobalt and lithium.
Solar panels, for example, are made up of a variety of components such as silver and silicon mined from sand and in deposits. Wind turbines are usually composed of iron and steel, glass, carbon, polymers and aluminium. Most of these are products of mining.
New technologies, such as AI, automation and blockchain, can make using renewable energy easier for everyone. Blockchain can also bring transparency into mining supply chains, which can ease worries about the impact of sourcing.
In Rotterdam, blockchain technology is being implemented to coordinate the supply of renewable energy to adjust pricing and better distribute power.
While mining benefits from renewable energy, the two are ultimately dependant on one another. Renewable energy will soon become an integral part of the future of mining.
Blockhead Technologies is bringing data traceability into mining with STAMP. STAMP, which is blockchain-enabled, traces company value chains and provides insights into company data. To find out more, click here.