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Renewable energy to shape the future of mining

The climbing cost of fossil fuels and other pressures will increasingly encourage miners to rely more heavily on renewables for their energy-hungry operations, the inaugural Future Energy and Finance conference heard today.

Speaking as part the precursor to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), Sunshine For Mines Operations Lead Alastair Dick said the time was right for renewables to contribute a greater amount to mines’ energy needs.

“The change nexus is here. With climate change, public policies, carbon pricing and other pressures on the mining industry, miners need to think differently,” he said.

“For the average mine, 22% of the operational spend is spent on energy. Think about what shaving one or two per cent off that energy cost would do to your bottom line.”

While miners could be “a slow moving bunch” when it came to adopting change, Mr Dick said the shift to renewable energy was well underway and showed no signs of slowing.

“We’ve got to help overcome the cultural barriers and mindsets. We’ve got to think about future generations and be that legacy today,” he said.

Apart from reducing energy costs, Mr Dick said the industry also had the opportunity to deliver shared value and reinforce their social licence to operate by embracing renewables.

Other speakers today explored the future of global energy and the implications for financing and investing in energy, along with new technology to increase generation, efficiency and storage.

More than 2,500 mining leaders, policy makers, financiers and other experts from more than 57 countries have converged in Melbourne for IMARC, Australia’s largest international mining and resources event.

IMARC runs until Thursday 10 November 2016 and will cover all aspects of mining, from exploration, investment and production through to optimisation, technology, health and safety, policy and governance. Decision makers from over 150 mining companies will be in attendance to learn from more than 160 international experts.