Qld resource companies investing in new technologies to reduce emissions

14 October 2019

Queensland resources sector continues to invest in new technologies to reduce emissions across the sector and is calling for an agnostic approach to the energy mix.

Queensland Resources Council’s latest State of the Sector – a quarterly survey of resource CEOs in Queensland – found companies were already investing in a lower carbon world.

“Across commodities 40 percent of surveyed CEOs are currently investing in the research and development of low emission technologies from carbon capture and storage to energy efficiency projects,” QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“This expenditure will grow further over the next 12 months with 53 percent planning to spend more on reducing emissions and 20 percent to substantially increase spending.

“Energy efficiency, sometimes called the fifth fuel, is the cheapest and cleanest energy of them all. For the past 9 years Aurizon has reduced emissions from trains by 19 percent by transitioning its fleet from diesel to electric.

“In another example, Anglo American has partnered with sustainable energy producer EDL to use excess gas released from coal seams to generate 108 megawatts of power from what was once a waste product.

“When asked about renewables 90 percent view the energy source as an opportunity but are equally concerned that without careful planning, intermittent generation can risk energy security and affordability.

“Queensland’s economy was built on reliable access to low-cost energy and it remains a vital ingredient for the success of the resources sector. Small increases to energy costs have a large impact on trade exposed industries and lowers our international investment profile.

“Queensland’s energy mix must be affordable, reliable and help lower emissions.

“Resources companies are also doing their part to reduce emissions by incorporating more renewables into their own operations.

“In Weipa, Rio Tinto’s 1.7 megawatt solar farm generates 20 percent of the town’s daytime energy demand saving up to 2.3 million litres of diesel and 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

“South32’s Cannington mine— one of the world’s largest producers of silver and lead— opened a 7,200-panel, three megawatt solar farm in December last year which powers the mine’s accommodation, airport and sends additional power to its mining operations cutting emissions by up to 6,000 tonnes per year.

“Adani is also investing in renewable capacity. Rugby Run Solar Farm near Moranbah supplies 65 megawatts of renewable power – the equivalent of powering 23,000 regional Queensland homes and businesses each year using more than 247,000 solar panels.

“Renewables also provide an important new source of demand growth for Queensland’s minerals. Energy from coal generation requires about two kilograms of copper per kilowatt whereas solar requires five kilograms per kilowatt.”

Quotes from resource CEOs:

“We’re upgrading our power network to improve system efficiency by improving our remote monitoring of process efficiency with a focus on reducing energy usage.”
“Renewable energy is an opportunity in terms of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions”
“We’re concerned by power security and costs”

“Queensland’s resources industry is clearly committed to being part of the global effort to reduce emissions by improving energy efficiency, adopting renewable energy and investing in co-generation and low emissions research,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Media contact: Anthony Donaghy 0412 450 360