Sustainable Development Goals

Harnessing energy and reducing CO2 emissions

Copper mines are typically coal-powered and the burning of fossil fuels creates greenhouse-gas emissions.

The copper industry is therefore trying to tackle this issue by adopting several approches:

  • The industry supports the efficient use of energy and where possible, sourcing energy from renewable energy sources.
  • It encourages the development and use of appropriate technologies for mitigation of CO2 emissions.
  • The industry endorses the transition to electricity as the primary source of energy.

Using energy that would otherwise be wasted 

Anglo American’s Moranbah North and Capcoal underground operations in Australia provide waste coal mine gas to two power stations owned and operated by Energy Developments Limited (EDL). 

The Moranbah North power station takes waste coal mine gas sourced from underground to produce 45 megawatts of electricity. In December 2012, an expansion of the existing Capcoal waste coal mine gas power station came on line, generating a further 13 megawatts of electricity.

Regional Manager for Infrastructure, Energy and Carbon, Scott McEwan said this project was the most effective way to manage the additional coal seam methane gas that naturally occurs as mining goes deeper into the seam. The options available to remove the gas from the mining environment are to either vent the gas to the atmosphere and flare it or harness it to produce energy. By partnering with EDL, we provide a natural source of electricity that would otherwise be wasted.

The combined environmental benefit from the two power stations is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of three million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum. The power stations provide clean energy to power nearly 100,000 homes.