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MCA confirms 2050 ambition of net zero emissions

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has confirmed the industry’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In June 2020, the MCA and members launched the ‘Climate Action Plan’ as a clear commitment to do the work needed to achieve net zero emissions. To reach this objective, the MCA and member companies continue to invest in research to better understand the technologies and practices that will be necessary to achieve decarbonisation across the sector.

This ambition can only be achieved through significant investment in technology and member companies are proactively adopting or considering a range of technologies including those that are already available and others where breakthrough development technology is still required.

The types of individual activities identified as facilitating emissions reductions at scale (greater than 100 000 tpy carbon dioxide) include: energy efficiency initiatives, considering where renewable energy can replace current energy sources, carbon capture and storage, additional flaring and gas capture equipment, flaring of underground emissions, ventilated air methane (VAM) abatement (subject to safety considerations), electrification and funding medium-longer term negative emission technologies.

The MCA ‘Climate Action Plan’ progress report released in June 2021 included the activities members are undertaking to research, develop and deploy emissions reduction technologies and processes. Examples include:

  • Newcrest contracting for more than 40% of its Cadia mine’s projected energy demand from 2024 with wind energy providers.
  • Newmont’s US$500 million investment in climate change initiatives BHP’s deal for renewable energy supply aimed at halving emissions from its Queensland coal mine energy use.
  • Rio Tinto’s deployment of solar PV and battery storage at Gudai-Darri in Western Australia estimated to reduce emissions by 90 000 tpy.
  • Glencore’s carbon capture utilisation and storage project in the Surat Basin.
  • Kirkland Lake Gold investing US$75 million each year for the next five years in environmental technology centres aimed at further reducing its carbon footprint through technology and innovation.
  • Methane captured at Anglo American’s Moranbah North, Grosvenor and Capcoal underground metallurgical coal mines being used by nearby power stations to generate more than 140 MW of electricity per annum, or enough to power 90 000 homes.
  • AngloGold Ashanti upgrading its current diesel haul fleet at its Tropicana gold mine by trialling a fleet of six new electric haul trucks to reduce diesel consumption.

Since then, the industry has continued to act with major members announcing collaborations with key equipment providers such as Caterpillar and Komatsu to develop zero-emissions haulage, and increased deployment of renewables at mine sites such as solar energy at Weipa.

A more sustainable minerals sector is not only important for Australia’s post-COVID recovery, it is also helping to sustain and improve the lives of millions around the world, providing the critical raw materials necessary for modern and emerging economies to flourish in a decarbonised future.

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