BHP uses so­lar and wind to power Aus­tralian mines

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Ed Clowes

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

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