It’s said that every year, Australia’s mining industry consumes as much electricity as all of Portugal. With transportation costs included, this sector consumes as much energy as all of Spain! Little wonder then that power is a matter of great debate and contention for the mining industry in the region.
According to reports, last June, Australian mining goliath, Glencore sounded the alarm bells on what it called ‘ridiculously high’ energy prices, which had risen 100% over the past three years. Glencore was reportedly talking of shutting the copper mining operations at one of its subsidiaries, Mount Isa Mines. Ditto with BASF, the Tomago Aluminium Company and Rio Tinto.
To make matters worse, in September 2017, South Australia, witnessed an extensive blackout. The region's grid-related issues coupled with a major storm left residential and commercial consumers totally crippled without electricity for days together.
Events like these, alongside a desire to lower their carbon footprint, is making Australia’s mining sector, which was so far largely thermal energy-dependent, consider renewables as a serious part of their energy mix.
Australia is not alone. The global mining industry, which consumes nearly 11% of the world’s power is making small but significant strides in tapping renewable energy for a variety of reasons.