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The mining industry is at the core of the manufacturing industry, it supports by providing raw material for almost
all industrial manufacturing components. The importance of the mining industry is not subtle in any form, but what is less known is how energy intensive the operations are. Mines are usually located in remote locations away from grid connectivity, as a result large amounts of diesel is consumed in gen-sets, which considerably increases the cost of the operation. Many mining companies in Australia and USA are beginning to use a two-fold solution to combat this issue, Renewable Energy. It is not only clean and reliable, bringing some light
into the sustainable practices being following in these mines but is also much cheaper than using diesel as fuel, which generally includes transportation and storage costs as well.

With renewable energy fast becoming a mainstream source of energy, the mining sector has a significant tangible opportunity to use renewable energy to lower power costs, improve safety, reliability and sustainability, thereby mitigating risks that adversely affect the growth of the mining industry. Among available forms of renewable energy solar energy is perhaps the most appropriate solution to the problems and challenges faced by the mining industry. Mines are located in remote areas that are several kilometres away from the nearest natural gas pipeline or electrical transmission line. In the absence of reliable source of electric power, mining companies end up heavily relying on diesel as an alternative for uninterrupted operations at their mines. Transportation of diesel over potentially long distances and hazardous terrains is an expensive exercise in itself and the sector therefore has to incur significant costs in operating the mines. Besides these costs, there are intangible environmental costs to consider as well, such as carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels and accidental spills during transportation of diesel. Solar, therefore offers a far simpler and cleaner alternative, reduces diesel consumption, while not compromising on reliability.

Most mines require electric power round the clock. With continuous advancement in storage technologies, solar with battery backup solution is perhaps one of the best alternatives to solve the problem of erratic power supply prevalent in the mining sector. The cost effectiveness of solar and the better return on investment it offers, makes it a prime solution for mining companies looking to replace expensive diesel or gas at their setups.

With India’s growing economy, its demand for mining commodities such as copper, lithium etc. is also increasing rapidly. For the success of Government of India’s “Make in India” initiative, the mining sector must grow to meet this demand and sustain the development of the downstream industries such as manufacturing and infrastructure. The utilisation of solar or any other forms of renewable energy in India’s mining sector today is negligible, however, as mining companies look to become more competitive and sustainable, mine operating costs have become a key focus.

According to a report on energy efficiency in the mining sector by the Central Institute of Mining & Fuel Research (CIMFR), energy costs account for at least 10% of production costs in the Indian mining industry. State-run Coal India Ltd, the world’s largest coal miner, plans to set up 20,000 MW of solar projects over the next 10 years and aim to achieve 100% utilisation of renewable energy by 2050.With the increasing pressure on governments and mining companies to adopt sustainability, renewable energy sources such as solar simultaneously address concerns regarding fuel prices, logistics, and emissions. With U-Solar, mining companies have the opportunity to reduce their operating costs, become more environment friendly and sustainable and pave the way towards a better future for everyone living on this beautiful planet, Earth.

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For more information reach out to,

Ms. Dhwani Sunku | dhwani.sunku@usolar.in | +91 9739824002

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Image Credits : Akuo Energy