10 July 2012 – The Anglo American group says that energy use accounts for about 75% of its greenhouse gas emissions, and as a result it is focusing on identifying and implementing technologies aimed at using energy more efficiently. These include technology solutions to optimise processes and machinery at its operations, such as air compressors, ventilation fans, pumps, draglines, conveyors and electric motors.
In addition to focusing on energy efficiency technologies, the company says it is investing in developing and deploying technologies that will enable it to run cost-efficient carbon neutral mines by 2030. In the belief that the large scale deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies will have a critical role to play in dealing with climate change, the company is participating in various research initiatives aimed at identifying commercially viable solutions for CCS. These include the US based FutureGen Industrial Alliance, the Otway CO2 storage project in Australia, and the South African Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage.
Last year, the company made an investment in the renewable energy Kalahari project. It has also been partnering with Johnson Matthey on the development for capturing and using ventilation air methane from mine shafts, as well as examining opportunities relating to fuel cell technology.
The company says that the proportion of renewable energy in its overall electricity consumption is estimated to be about 23%, and is accounted for mainly by its operations in Brazil and Chile. Anglo American’s Australian and South African operations, which run on heavily coal dependent electricity grids, have greater difficulty in accessing renewable energy sources.
In South Africa, the company’s Kumba iron ore, platinum and thermal coal businesses have been installing heat pumps in their mine change houses to replace conventional boilers, and the company has been exploring the installation of solar water heaters.