Mining companies look to electrify industry

There is a growing belief among mining companies around the world that electrifying mines is the future of the industry.

Currently, mines rely on resource expensive diesel-powered equipment to operate. However, a move to electric-driven machines could provide a cheaper, more energy efficient alternative while also potentially allowing companies to access deposits that are becoming increasingly deeper and difficult to access.

According to a report by Ernst and Young (EY), one-third of a mining companies total cost base comes from energy costs, and with this cost continually rising, a switch to electric-vehicles makes economic sense.

However, a move to electrification requires more than just a change in equipment, but a commitment to renewable energy sources as well.

“Switching from diesel to electric not only makes economic sense, but enables a greater level of health and safety” states the report.

Electric vehicles would require less human intervention in operation and maintenance, lessening the demand for these skills.

There will however be more demand for data and digital literacy and technical planning skills, meaning jobs will not be disappearing from minds, just shifting in skill requirements.

“The workplace won’t necessarily be smaller, but it will be skilled differently” the report states.

The findings from the report challenge the previously stated assumption that mines provide jobs only for those who do physical labour in developing economies.

The survey from Ernst and Young was conducted by the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland and the Normal B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia (Canada).

Original source: Safetowork | Electrification gains priority on mining agenda.

24 July 2019

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