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Recap and Insights from the “4th Energy Transition and Emission Reduction Summit in the Metals and Mining Industry”

4th Energy Transition and Emission Reduction Summit in the Metals and Mining Industry

The 4th Energy Transition and Emission Reduction Summit for the Metals and Mining Industry was held on September 21-22, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. Reducing emissions in mining and metals is now a pressing priority due to ambitious targets. This summit brought together experts across the industry. They discussed strategies and also technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainability.

Overview of Summit Themes and Discussions

The summit shed light on some key themes and aimed at coming at a collective solution. Some of the major themes covered at the summit included:

  • Transitioning to Renewable Energy and Alternative Fuels

Some key strategies that were discussed are phasing out diesel and integrating renewable energy like solar and wind. It also brought light on adopting alternative fuels like hydrogen and biodiesel. Furthermore, speakers shared perspectives on the feasibility, infrastructure, safety, and ROI of these technologies.

  • Electrification of Mine Fleets and Equipment

Electrifying haul trucks, shovels, and other mine machinery can reduce emissions from operations. Participants explored battery and charging solutions along with integration challenges.

  • Emissions Reduction Technologies

Innovations like carbon mineralization and ventilation optimization can curb emissions from mining processes. Experts also analyzed implementing these solutions on-site.

  • ESG Best Practices

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics are now crucial for mining companies. It helps to attract investors and maintain social licenses to operate. Discussions centered around sustainability reporting, community engagement, and also tailings management. Moreover, discussions were also done on integrating ESG into corporate strategy.

Key Insights from Industry Leaders

Among the deep insights provided by the highly esteemed experts, some issues raised were the need of the hour:

  • Battery Energy Storage Systems

Rodrigo Salim, Head of Product Line – Battery & Energy Storage at Aggreko, presented on features and benefits of battery energy storage systems (BESS) for mining operations. This includes increased operational flexibility, reduced energy costs through peak shaving, and controlled emissions with less reliance on diesel gensets. Relevant BESS applications and case studies were shared.

  • Energy Optimization for Mine Ventilation

Leo Botha, Commercial Director – Mining at Howden, covered ventilation optimization through control systems, simulation models, monitoring, and energy management. This helps reduce the carbon footprint of power-intensive ventilation requirements for underground mines. Specific technologies and approaches were outlined.

  • Emission Reduction in Exploration & Development

Myrzah Tavares-Bello, VP Sustainable Development and Human Resources at O3 Mining, explained their efforts to account for, report on, and reduce carbon emissions in exploration activities. This includes year-over-year emission reductions per meter drilled. In mine development, they are projecting and optimizing to reduce emissions and determine the carbon footprint per ounce of gold produced.

  • Fleet & Material Movement Decarbonization

A panel moderated by Casey Nault, Chief ESG Officer at Coeur Mining, focused on strategies for decarbonizing mine fleets and material transport. This covered technologies, infrastructure, efficiency improvements, and alternative fuels to reduce diesel reliance for haul trucks, processing equipment, and conveying systems

Going deeper into some key insights

In this section, we will look at some more important issues raised at the 4th Energy Transition and Emission Reduction Summit in the Metals and Mining Industry:

  • Low Carbon Steel Production

Gilles Hauden and Jean-Yves Hurbe from ArcelorMittal Industeel presented their Xcarb initiative for developing lower carbon steelmaking processes and products. They also demonstrated a CO2 reduction estimating tool showing potential savings from using their abrasion-resistant steels in mining equipment and operations.

  • Hydrogen Supply Chain Solutions

Reid Larson, VP Global Decarbonization at Howden, discussed establishing safe, efficient hydrogen supply chains. This enables moving hydrogen from low-cost production regions to end-use markets where demand is highest. Options for transportation, storage, and utilization were explored.

  • Unlocking industrial symbiosis

Ana Fernandez Iglesias, Sustainable Mining Director at ArcelorMittal R&D, discussed the opportunities for industrial symbiosis by reusing mining tailings in other industrial processes. She explained that tailings, the leftover materials after mineral extraction, are often seen as waste products but actually contain valuable resources.

Ana proposed collaborating across sectors so that tailings can be provided as inputs for things like cement and construction materials manufacturing. Since mining companies already have to manage tailings, finding ways to sell or donate them for reuse reduces waste and offsets carbon emissions from other industries that would otherwise need to extract and process virgin materials.

The Road Ahead

The mining industry has made strides but still faces systemic hurdles. These hurdles arise in its transition away from fossil fuels. With pressure mounting from investors, regulators, and the public, companies will need to rapidly adopt a holistic approach. This is to reduce emissions across the mining lifecycle. Creative solutions, open collaboration, and prudent management will be critical. Moreover, it will help in reaching net-zero goals and building a sustainable future. Summits like this that foster discussion and knowledge sharing will continue to pave the way.