Mining companies across NSW are working towards a future with fewer emissions and more renewable energy in our power grid.
Emissions from coal mining are already down 38 percent since 2005.
We’re investing in massive projects to use or even produce renewable energy, including pumped hydro, large scale solar and battery storage.
NSW mining companies are producing the metals and minerals needed to build renewable infrastructure, like copper, gold, silver and zinc. They’re also needed for so many of the things we rely and need for the future, like electric cars, computers, medical devices, and every single smartphone.
And we’re mining the high-quality NSW coal that is essential for making steel and is needed for reliable energy while countries around the work build their renewable energy infrastructure in the years and decades ahead.
Transforming a mining pit into a hydro powerhouse
As Australia builds more renewable energy infrastructure, hydro-electricity is a great way to store energy generated from wind and solar that can be used during high demand.
After 115 years of productive mining, the old Muswellbrook Coal mine in the Hunter Valley is being turned into a new hydro power plant and solar farm. It will feed renewable energy into the grid for NSW families and businesses.
Water will be stored in the old mining pit and then pumped uphill using renewable energy. And when demand Is high, that water will be released through turbines in pipes back into the mine pit to provide around 8 hours of clean power.
Idemitsu, the mining company transforming the site, is also planning solar panels at the site that will provide energy for 79,000 homes.
Newcrest Mining’s Cadia Valley gold mine and metals processing plant near Orange is a substantial user of electricity. It accounts for around one percent of all the electricity consumed in NSW.
As part of the company’s lower emissions future, it has signed an agreement to ensure that more than 40 percent of the mine’s expected energy demand will come from renewable sources from January 2024.
Airly Coal mine, west of Lithgow, is not only producing high-quality coal for energy for NSW. It’s also producing power from a 2 megawatt solar farm it has built on the site to help power its mining operations.
The solar farm supplies around 20 percent of the electricity needed to run the mine, and when mining operations eventually come to an end, the company plans to put that power back into the grid to power homes and businesses across NSW.
As we all transition to a low-carbon future in the years and decades ahead, mine sites across NSW are making the shift to new technology like electric vehicles and more efficient heavy machinery.
Supplier company Ampcontrol, who provides a range of equipment to many NSW mines, has developed a battery-powered electric personnel carrier for underground mines to reduce emissions.
And coal mining company Yancoal is upgrading many of the engines in their haul trucks and other large vehicles at its mines near Singleton and Mudgee, saving around 5.5 litres of diesel per hour per vehicle.
Mining for a modern world
The mining industry has a big future ahead, producing the metals and minerals used in almost every part of our modern way of life.
NSW has world-class deposits of key metals and minerals. This is what they’re used for.