Copper-core miner OZ Minerals released its Annual and Sustainability Report for the year ended 31 December 2019.

“Awareness and action on climate-related opportunities and threats are increasing rapidly in the resources sector and more broadly,” said Rebecca McGrath, chairman, and Andrew Cole, managing director and CEO, OZ Minerals, in a joint message. “With a view to creating more sustainable operations, we have developed a roadmap to manage climate-related opportunities and threats based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the market-endorsed, internationally recognised framework for disclosure. Actions outlined in our roadmap are intended to embed climate-related risk within ‘The OZWay’ and progressively expand our performance and overall approach, creating value for all stakeholders.”

The company’s two major operations are connected to the South Australia electricity grid, which is estimated to comprise approximately 50 per cent renewable energy. In Brazil, all electricity used by OZ Minerals’ assets is derived from renewable hydroelectricity.

In 2019, the majority of OZ Minerals’ energy use occurred at the Prominent Hill mine in northern South Australia – the largest operating mine in the company’s portfolio. The two main areas of energy consumption were the processing plant (electricity) and mining vehicles (diesel fuel).

Last year, Prominent Hill’s mining activities were underground-only having successfully completed the transition from the open pit. An expansion study to increase production post-2023 and extend the life at Prominent Hill is currently underway. A key aspect of the study will be to consider equipment powered by diesel alternatives.

OZ Minerals’ energy demand will continue to increase following the commissioning and production ramp up of the Carrapateena mine, which is located in the highly prospective Gawler Craton in South Australia, approximately 160 km north of Port Augusta. However, the company plans to trial a 250-kW hybrid energy solution facility to develop renewable energy solutions and demand management opportunities. This is part of the Energy and Mining Collaboration, an initiative by OZ Minerals in collaboration with Adelaide University, CSIRO, the Department of Energy and Mining, the Rocky Mountain Institute, SunSHIFT and the Tonsley Innovation Precinct.

Moreover, OZ Minerals established last year the feasibility of powering the West Musgrave project in Western Australia using a low emission diesel–solar–wind-battery solution with 70 to 80 per cent renewable penetration.

The company’s Australian assets have reported the following energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in line with NGERS:

  • Scope 1 Emissions (mainly onsite fuel combustion): 77,271 tonnes of CO2-e (10 per cent decrease compared to previous year).
  • Scope 2 Emissions (grid electricity): 176,627 tonnes of CO2-e (5% increase compared to previous year).
  • Total Scope 1 and Scope 2 Emissions: 253,898 tonnes of CO2-e (stable compared to the previous year).
  • Diesel use is Prominent Hill’s primary source of Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions.
  • OZ Minerals did not sell energy in 2019.

*Article published in the April-June 2020 issue of The Asia Miner