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Fig. 1. Wind-power at Diavik Diamond Mine. // Bild 1. Windkraft-Anlage auf der Diavik Diamanten Mine. Photo/Foto: Courtesy of Diavik Diamond Mines.

Integrating Mining and Renewable Energy for Canadian Mining Companies

More than 110 professionals from the renewables and mining sectors attended the full-day conference on “Integrating Mining & Renewable Energy for Canadian Mining Companies: Bridging the Gap to Realize the True Potential – What Renewables can offer the Mining Sector” on December 9, 2015, at the Westin Harbor Castle, in Toronto.

Hosted by the Competence Centres for Mining and Mineral Resources and for Energy & Cleantech within the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce Inc., Toronto/Canada, the conference was sponsored by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ottawa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Walter Stechel, Consul General of Germany in Toronto, greeted the audience with welcoming remarks.

Being the third conference on integrating renewable energy and mining, the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce aims to enhance the dialogue between both industry sectors to foster better understanding and more joint projects in the future. This conference took an in-depth and honest look at the potential of renewable energy sources for mining projects, especially in Canada, and discussed existing gaps that need to be overcome in order to realize the true potential.

The renewable energies industry has grown mature and has developed capacities and business models which go beyond the simple delivery of technology. Energy management systems, logistics, hybrid solutions, energy storage technologies – only to name a few – are all becoming part of an integral approach to provide renewable energy to customers worldwide. At the same time, mining companies are under increasing pressure to reduce energy costs given lower grade ore deposits and rising fuel costs. Integrating renewable energies into mining operations can be one step forward in reducing fuel costs as well as in improving their carbon footprint. However, given the limited life span of mines and the high installation costs of renewable energy projects poses a challenge despite the potential and raises the question under which conditions renewables truly present an alternative solution that is cost-effective.

These questions were discussed in two keynote presentations by Dr. Thomas Hillig, Founder of THEnergy, and Michel Carreau, Director Energy at Hatch Ltd., and further debated in a panel discussion. In addition, four case-studies provided reports of first-hand experiences of integrating renewable energy sources into mining projects. (AHK Canada)