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Cleantech solutions Can Help Canada In Sustainable Mining

Cleantech solutions Can Help Canada In Sustainable Mining

Cleantech

Sustainability in Mining Sector

CleanTech is an independent power producer and renewable electricity developer in the Canada. Businesses in the clean technology, or cleantech sector offer products or services that work to improve the long-term health of the environment.

Our everyday activities are greatly affected by the supply and quality of natural resources. We depend on minerals and metals to make countless products, from toothpaste and bicycles to sophisticated electronics like smartphones and laptops. About 40 mined metals and rare earths are needed to produce a single smartphone.

And minerals and metals make a huge contribution to the everyday lives of Canadians. Here’s how!

Canada is one of the wealthiest countries packed with natural resources. Canada’s mining sector significantly contributes to the country’s economy and employment. The Canadian mining industry produces more than 60 types of metals and minerals and has the highest average salaries of any industry. In 2020, around 377,000 Canadians were directly employed by the mining industry.

Interesting Facts About Canada’s Mining Sector

  • Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of potash.
  • The country ranks fourth among the largest uranium producers and third in diamond production worldwide.
  • Canada is also the world’s fourth and sixth-largest producer of aluminum and nickel, respectively.
  • In 2021, Canada’s mineral production reached a whopping $55.5 billion. Among them, Gold was the top-ranked commodity with a value of $13.7 billion.

No wonder this considerable amount of mineral production shapes the narrative of Canada as a leading mining nation.

However, as the world moves towards a net-zero future, Canada’s primary industries must focus on sustainable ways of mining to reduce environmental footprints. It is also worth noting that without minerals and metals, ‘cleantech’ or environmentally friendly practices and technologies would be impossible.

Ways How Cleantech Solutions Can Help In Sustainable Mining in Canada

Let’s look at how cleantech solutions can help Canada’s mining sector grow sustainably.

Leveraging Renewable Energy Technology in Mining

SOLAR POWER

Canada has rich mineral deposits needed for renewable energy technologies. A solar PV panel requires 19 minerals and metals, among which eight metals are critical minerals. Surprisingly, Canada is home to 14 of the 19 metals and minerals.

Solar PV technologies have fewer adverse environmental impacts when compared to fossil-fuel-based electricity production.

The Mining Association of Canada initiated a program- Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), to responsibly manage mining risks such as contaminated water spills into freshwaters. However, this initiative needs wider adoption across Canada. Moreover, the program is only applicable to its members.

While voluntary programs are available, there is no guarantee that mining companies will take part and deliver sustainable standards of performance. Sustainable mining is only possible if the federal and provincial governments ensure stringent regulations, and Canadian mines and companies should adopt a high-bar sustainability performance.

Canada is also at the forefront of using wind-diesel hybrids. The Diavik Diamond Mines system in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories and Glencore’s wind power and energy storage facility at its Raglan mine are some examples of wind-diesel hybrids. Moreover, Iamgold, one of Canada’s gold mining stocks, announced an agreement to use solar power to produce electricity for its Burkina Faso gold mine.

Deployment of Electric Vehicles (EV) in Mining

ELECTRIC VEHICLE

The demand for carbon reduction in the mining sector is unavoidable, and electrification is one way to achieve it. Electrification of mines can be a significant driver of cost reduction and energy efficiency and adheres to responsible and sustainable mining operations. Moreover, electrification reduces operational and up-front capital costs by reducing the need for ventilation shafts in underground mines.

The electrification of mines in Canada has some challenges. Most Canadian mines are located in remote areas and need more infrastructure for recharging and operating EVs. Hence, the sector faces structural challenges, and mine design needs a rethink!

Paul Mitchell, the Global Mining and Metals Leader of Ernst & Young (EY), says,

“It is important to start thinking about building agility into mine design to leverage the potential benefits in asset flexibility, lower ventilation requirements and the human footprint. The future of electrification in mines requires a paradigm shift in thinking — from existing known and proven technologies to new emerging technologies. We must realise that the sector’s challenges can be solved faster by collaboration – and a robust strategy, underpinned by gaining the right capabilities and an agile approach, is critical.”

Several other cleantech solutions have the potential to help Canada’s mining sector grow sustainably. It is in the hands of the mining companies to leverage the potential of cleantech solutions into their mining operations.

Top Canadian Firms Towards Green Economy

Let us look at some Canadian mining exploration companies focusing on cutting their environmental impacts.

Teck Resources

This Canada’s largest diversified mining company is committed to responsible mining and mineral development.

TECK RESOURCES

Teck sources 28% of its energy needs from renewables and has set a target towards 100 MW renewable capacity by 2030. CDP ranked Teck as the first Canadian resource company to join the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and to apply its internal carbon price. Moreover, the steelmaking, coal and copper production of Teck Resources are among the least carbon-intensive in the world, as per the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM).

Goldcorp

ELEONORE MINE, GOLDCORP INC

ELEONORE MINE, GOLDCORP INC

Goldcorp, the world’s fourth largest gold producer by output, has taken up the low-carbon challenge. The company announced that it would open the world’s first fully electric underground mine in pristine wilderness at Chapleau, Northern Ontario, eliminating diesel and propane fuel and embracing battery-operated drilling.

Goldcorp also has an H2Zero – Towards Zero Water Strategy to reduce freshwater consumption.

Hudbay Minerals

HUDBAY MINERALS

Hudbay Minerals, a Canadian mining company, is aiming to reduce the water risks from its tailings. Hudbay uses “dry stack” tailings in its Rosemont Project in Arizona, which uses filters to reduce moisture in the slurry.

An Opportunity Not To Be Missed!

Canada’s mining sector can play a significant role in enabling clean technologies to help the world address climate change due to its abundance of metals and minerals required for clean energy technologies. As the world moves towards a green future, Canada must increase the creation and adoption of clean technologies in its mining sector.

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