Most African mining companies have been forced to look for options for their source of energy due to rising energy prices and supply constraints; they are now compelled to opt for other energy solutions that are affordable, consistent and secure.
The mining companies have now realized that they need to explore on renewable energy integration as a means to not only address their affordability and safety of supply concerns, but also deal with broader carbon mitigation goals.
John Eccles, a director at First Solar Fuel points out that electricity is the lifeblood of all industries and that reliable electricity generation is particularly critical for the success of the mining sector. John continues and says that, while the mining industry has traditionally relied on electricity grids and on-site liquid fuel generators for its electricity needs, there is a growing worldwide understanding that solar energy is becoming more sustainable and affordable.
Some companies have already shifted to using renewable energy. An example is the African Barrick Gold (ABG), running three mines in Tanzania. The company has been seeking renewable energy options for the last eight years according to Technical Services GM Nic Schoeman and corporate Maintenance Manager Manfred Hildebrandt.
ABG first embraced grid power from Tanexco, in its efforts to retreat from a dependence on diesel. Tanexco is wholly owned by the government of Tanzania and its energy is greener than diesel since it generates half of it from hydroenergy. 40% of the company’s energy is generated from nearby gas reserves and the rest 10% from thermal energy.
Therefore, in the mining sector most companies are advised to turn to renewable energy for any intended project.