dic 06, 2023

Developing a reliable mining decarbonization plan

  • Artículo
  • Decarbonization
  • Strategy

As global awareness of climate change reaches new heights, pressures on mining companies are becoming increasingly stronger to move more quickly toward decarbonization. As stated in Part 1 of this blog article, Purposeful planning for mining decarbonization, mining companies need to come up with a reliable action plan.

There are three questions to ask when establishing a plan development process:

  1. 1. Analyze: What is your carbon footprint?

    Mining companies must have an in-depth understanding of their operations to build an efficient decarbonization plan. They need to find out what process operations produce the most GHG emissions, what equipment consumes the most fossil fuels (diesel, natural gas, etc.) and what consumes the most energy.

    This will generate a list of activities for respective stakeholders that will have the highest impact on Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Moreover, understanding how this can change overtime can have an important impact on planning. For example, are operations mainly open pit or underground, and can this change over time? Also, how confident is the mining company in the mineral reserves versus the mine’s lifespan? Finally, are there any site closures or mine acquisitions planned in the coming years?

    Understanding system constraints can then provide insight into what would happen if nothing were done. The business-as-usual scenario then becomes a reference point for all mitigation measures and an invaluable tool for performance evaluation. Many graphical tools can be used to demonstrate assessment results, such as a carbon stack diagram:

  2. 2. Identify: What are your options?

    When developing an integrated decarbonization approach, it should identify projects on two fronts:

    1. Bottom up: Operations and department managers are the best sources of knowledge when it comes to identifying energy efficiency potential throughout their day-to-day interactions. Leaders can be identified to help properly target initiatives to reduce energy consumption at various scales.
    2. Top down: General managers and corporate directors best understand the interaction between shareholder interests and the company’s long-term objectives. Their input is critical to developing any sustainable decarbonization vision.

    The decarbonization team should be positioned between both fronts, collecting project ideas from across the organization. Roundtable sessions and workshops can be organized with various groups (internal and external) to gather opportunities for the path forward.

    During these sessions, stimulate the conversation with the following questions, categorized by decarbonization nature and potential:

  3. Evaluate: How do we prioritize?

    We need to have efficient planning to achieve decarbonization balances between site-specific challenges and regional and corporate visions. There are a few important parameters to follow when identifying projects and evaluating their potential:

  4. There are several tools to help prioritize projects into portfolios, such as marginal abatement cost curves. They can be useful in sorting projects based on their economics (NPV/T CO2) and GHG potential.

  5. However, this tool lacks visibility on the initial investment required to carry out a project.

    As such, BBA can develop additional tools that are tailored to each portfolio. For instance, the following portrays various potential projects according to their initial investment (CAPEX) based on their economics. It also shows the decarbonization potential of each project (represented as a circle), the larger circles being the most impactful.

  6. When developing a reliable action plan, mining companies need to analyze their carbon footprint, identify their options and figure out what they should prioritize. This blog article helps steer you in the right direction, and our experts are here to help you if you need support. Give us a call!

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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