Entura leads discussion of renewables in mining sector

June 23, 2021

Two of Entura’s thought leaders recently attended this year’s virtual Energy and Mines Australia summit, which took place earlier this week.

Hybrid Energy Solutions Specialist Ray Massie and Secondary Electrical Team Leader Greg Koppens led a panel discussion on “Lessons Learned and Next Steps for Mining Hybrids”, providing critical insights on the topic and the industry’s renewable future. They were joined by fellow panellists James Koerting, Energy Manager of Gold Fields Australia, Image Resources MD and CEO Patrick Mutz and Suresh Sakar, the Australian Engineering Manager for Iluka Resources.

Greg Koppens and Ray Massie at the Energy and Mines virtual summit.

Greg Koppens and Ray Massie at the Energy and Mines virtual summit.

The session explored various questions pertaining to the future of hybrid renewables in the mining sector. Panellists discussed ways to increase renewable penetration, escalate hybrid projects and improve energy storage solutions, as well as identifying hybrid renewables opportunities in the mining sector.

Both Greg and Ray came away from the conference with new industry insights, and reflected on how much attitudes towards renewables in the sector have changed in the past year or so.

“I think we’re starting to see more thinking and questions around the demand side – so how the process and the plant itself is operated,” said Ray.

“Twelve months ago, six months ago, it was just how do we put renewables in? Now it’s starting to shift to the question of how we change our world to maximise the benefit of that new paradigm.”

With new approaches emerging to integrate hybrid renewables in mining, Greg explained the new challenge for mining process engineers.

“One thing that I’d like to be a takeaway message is the challenge to mining process engineers to be flexible when they’ve got plenty of energy and when there’s a scarcity of energy, and to design their intermittent processes to take advantage of that,” he said.

“When you’re using free power, it’s green, you’re not burning any fuel to produce it, and your operating cost is cheaper.”

The three-day summit welcomed discussions from an array of industry figures bringing their different views of how to move towards a future of carbon-free mining. Although held virtually, the event was an important opportunity to connect with other industry peers and learn from each other.

“Everybody wins if you start to share your information and knowledge,” Ray said. “It’s refreshing to see how rapidly the mining sector is taking this on. Sometimes, seeing that another plant is doing it and working fine is enough to give other miners the confidence to transition too.”

“For every conversation at the conference, behind the scenes there are many more miners sharing their learnings, so these events accelerate change.”

Entura’s presence at the conference enabled us to engage in these conversations and demonstrate why we’re a leader in advanced off-grid hybrid integration systems.

“That’s one of the things about Entura,” said Greg. ‘We’re here to make a difference and lead the renewable revolution. It’s about continuing to be there at the front and to push that envelope.”

You can watch the full session here.