A Newsletter for the Mining Industry.

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The Australian mining industry is taking action on climate change as part of its collective commitment to the Paris Agreement and its goal of net zero emissions in Australia and around the world.

This commitment is codified in a comprehensive Climate Action Plan, recently released by the Mining Council of Australia (MCA) to demonstrate the ongoing commitment by the Australian minerals industry to decarbonising the economy and addressing climate change.

The plan recognizes that sustained action is required to reduce the risks of human-induced climate change. At the same time, it acknowledges the importance of mining in improving the lives of millions of people through the responsible production of minerals that are essential for everyday life, as well as for applications in transport infrastructure, communications, renewable energy systems and elsewhere.

To achieve an ambition of net zero emissions in Australia, the plan calls for a stable national policy framework that includes:

  • Substantially increased research, development and investment in technologies and processes to reduce mine site emissions
  • Widespread deployment of low and zero emission technologies including consideration of all technologies
  • Credible, verified low-cost abatement options, including domestic and international offsets
  • Accelerated development of the minerals required for a low emissions future including aluminium, copper, nickel, zinc, iron, uranium, base metals, lithium, minerals sands, and rare earths
  • Global and domestic partnerships with governments, regulators, customers, technology developers, universities, NGOs and other relevant groups to drive new technologies that cost-effectively reduce emissions
  • Policies that foster continued economic growth and investor confidence in Australia.

The MCA’s Climate Action Plan outlines a series of actions focused on three key themes:

  • Support developing technology pathways to achieve significant reductions in Australia’s greenhouse emissions
  • Increased transparency on climate change related reporting and informed advocacy
  • Knowledge sharing of the sector’s responses to addressing climate change.

These objectives are supported by an enduring 10-point framework and a comprehensive 3-year rolling workplan with 30 specific activities. The Plan will be reviewed annually and publicly reported on to ensure it remains consistent with Australia’s climate policy ambitions. Read the full plan here.



"The [Australian] minerals sector not only has the ambition to decarbonise the sector – it also has an action plan to get there.

Tara Constable
CEO Minerals Council of Australia















An on-site source of power offers miners the chance to keep control of their operating costs through wavering energy prices and changing market conditions.

So begins a wide-ranging article in Engineering & Mining Journal that looks at some of the rationales for miners to develop on-site sources of power and the incentives for making these sources renewable.

“Everybody is feeling the pressure to go with greener technologies,” says Justin Schnegelberger of engineering firm Burns & McDonnell. But it’s complicated. “Again,” says Schnegelberger, “it all comes down to finding the right fit.”

In discussing the business considerations involved, energy consultant Dr. Thomas Hillig observes, “The viability of renewables, from a cost standpoint, is linked to diesel pricing.” However, “During the past 12-18 months, we’ve seen a lot of pressure on mining decision makers to do something regarding renewables.” The key, says Hillig, is that “Renewable technologies require a different investment model than more traditional sources of mine power. Technologies like diesel gensets and coal fired power plants require greater OPEX, factoring in the cost of diesel or coal. While for renewables like wind or solar, the business model is very much CAPEX driven. … While the upfront cost for an onsite renewable solution can be [high], in the long run, mines are distancing themselves from uncertainty in diesel or coal prices, and also the impact of regulations on carbon emissions.”

See the map below for a sense of the extent to which renewable energy projects are already underway at mines across the globe, and read the full article here.


Commissioned and announced on-site renewable power installations at mine sites globally. Source: THEnergy, 2020