Renewable future gains momentum across Australia

OZ Minerals’ developing Carrapateena copper-gold mine site in South Australia. Image: OZ Minerals

A number of mining majors, including Fortescue Metals Group, BHP, Rio Tinto and South32, got together for the Hydrogens and Mines Summit in Western Australia to explore the opportunities presented by renewable hydrogen.

The Hydrogen and Mines Summit was also joined by Woodside Energy, Caltex, Baker Hughes GE, Yara and Atco, with almost 200 delegates in attendance.

“Renewable hydrogen can cut mining’s reliance on costly diesel imports, whilst developing a new, sustainable industry,” WA Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade Alannah MacTiernan said.

“Some of our key trading partners, including Japan, Singapore and South Korea, are signalling their intentions to import low emission hydrogen to help transition away from fossil fuels and increase energy security.”

Hydrogen has massive applications in the mining sector including fuel substitution, renewables integration and power supply, and the commercialisation of renewable hydrogen technologies.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has established the WA Renewable Hydrogen Council to develop a renewable hydrogen market in the state for export and domestic purposes.

“Western Australia is well positioned to take advantage of this potential multibillion dollar industry, and the race is on with other countries positioning themselves to become major exporters of renewable hydrogen,” MacTiernan said.

Global and Australian mining companies alike are increasingly embracing and investing in a renewable future by making their operations more environmentally friendly.

Construction of a high penetration renewable microgrid is under way at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in WA, which is in sight of being the first Australian mine that is powered by a wind, solar, battery and gas microgrid.

Gold Fields will receive $13.5 million in funding from the Australian Government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

In South Australia, OZ Minerals has formed a partnership of six industry collaborators, including CSIRO and Adelaide University, to trial an installation of around 250 kilowatt of hybrid energy technology at the Carrapateena copper-gold operation.