BHP uses solar and wind to power Australian mines
MINING giant BHP has said it will begin using solar and wind power to meet the company’s electricity needs at its coal mines in Australia.
The move will help BHP halve emissions from electricity use at its Queensland coal operations by 2025, the group said, and displace an estimated 1.7m tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to the an- nual emissions of around 400,000 cars.
Queensland’s state-owned clean energy generator and retailer CleanCo will supply BHP with the renewable power in an agreement that will run for five years from January 2021.
The world’s biggest miner vowed earlier this month to stop producing coal for power plants within two years as it scrambles to head off an investor backlash over fossil fuels.
BHP pledged to sell its thermal coal mines amid a growing clamour to cut carbon emissions, although it will continue to produce the kind of coal needed to make steel.
Campaigners argue that cutting out coal – the most polluting way of producing energy – is a key step in the shift towards tackling climate change, and have long targeted BHP along with fellow miners Rio Tinto and Glencore.
Edgar Basto, BHP’s head of minerals in Australia, said: “This is an important step forward in BHP’s transition to more sustainable energy use across our portfolio, and a first for our Australian operations. It will diversify our energy supply,” he said, and “help to reduce our energy costs”.
The company has already said it will shift to 100pc renewable power at its Chilean copper mines from the mid2020s. To facilitate this shift, BHP is understood to be paying as much as $840m (£626m) for an early end to a 2008 energy contract it had signed with a coal power plant to provide electricity at the copper mines.
BHP aims to halve emissions at its coal operations in Queensland, left, by using renewables to power its mines