Report: Renewable Energy in the Australian Mining Sector (PDF 7MB)
Read the white paper from SunSHIFT outlining how fossil fuels are being displaced with renewable energy in electricity generation applications.
The Australian mining sector consumes roughly 500 petajoules per year, 10% of Australia’s total energy use, and consumption has risen at 6.0% per annum over the last decade, driven primarily by increased mining volumes. The mining sector derives most of its energy from diesel (41%), natural gas (33%), and grid electricity (22%), with the remainder supplied by a mixture of other refined fuels, coal, LPG, renewables, and biofuels. The percentage contribution from diesel has fallen from 49% to 41% over the last decade and been largely replaced by natural gas and grid electricity, as infrastructure develops and oil prices continue to show volatility. Mining energy intensity – the energy required per tonne of product – is a function of definitions, location, mining type, and processing type.
Average energy intensity is estimated at 50.5kWh/tonne for coal, 10.7kWh/ tonne for minerals, and 54.5kWh/tonne for metals, with the majority consumed in diesel equipment and comminution operations. The energy intensity in metals, however, ranges from 13kWh/tonne for bauxite to 210kWh/tonne for gold, due largely to differences in on-site beneficiation operations. Energy for metals with low on-site beneficiation, such as bauxite and iron ore, is predominately consumed as diesel for plant involved in extraction and transport. Energy for metals with high on-site site beneficiation, such as copper and gold, is predominantly consumed as electricity.