Costs are unclear as Freeport converts mining trucks to green power

File Photo: Richard Carson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold, Inc. will speak at the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit in New York on March 9, 2009.Reuters / Brendan McDermid

December 1, 2021

By Ernest Shader

(Reuters) – Copper mining giant Freeport-McMoran is converting diesel trucks and other machinery to electricity or hydrogen. The costs are not yet known, but the transition needed to combat climate change, said CEO Richard Adkerson. Interview at the Reuters Next Conference.

The mining industry is tackling a paradoxical role as a supplier of copper, lithium and other building blocks for renewable technology, even though its operations contribute to global warming.

Freeport, which operates mines in the Americas and Indonesia, has approximately 600 haul trucks, some of which move more than 400 tonnes (881,850 pounds) of soil on a single load.

To power these machines, Freeport purchased 180 million gallons of diesel last year, contributing to so-called Scope 1 (direct) emissions, according to regulatory filings.

“We have to invest to reduce carbon emissions,” Adcarson said in an interview released Wednesday. “We’re going to do that. It will cost some money.”

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the company is testing electricity and hydrogen-powered trucks to study other fuel sources in Indonesia’s coal-fired power plant, which operates the world’s second-largest copper mine. doing.

Freeport is also participating in innovation challenges with Rio Tinto Ltd, BHP Group Ltd and others to help better electrify mining sites.

Participating in a hydrogen fuel consortium in South America, it plans to commission Komatsu and Caterpillar diesel electric trucks next year.

Energy accounts for about 20% of Freeport’s annual operating costs, but it is not yet clear how it will change after the entire fleet is transformed.

“The conversion of all this will have an impact on supply,” Adcarson said. “Currently, I have more questions than answers.”

But Adcarson, who has been CEO since 2003, said it was “absolutely necessary” for Freeport to reduce emissions.He cited extreme weather events caused by global warming and the discrepancy between the copper mining industry, which produces emissions while metal is needed for green energy solutions.

“The world needs copper, but the copper mining industry has emissions,” he said.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an industry group chaired by Adkerson, has set goals October 2050-October 2021 carbon emissions for all members, including zero-freeport, are direct and indirect net zero direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2050, some This is due to the abolition of diesel power generation equipment.

Freeport is also researching ways to reprocess waste stones at mines to extract an estimated £ 10 billion or more of copper. Adcarson said it was premature to say how much copper could ultimately be produced using this method, but added that “our technical team is really excited about it.” rice field.

In Spain, Freeport recycles electronic scrap waste at one of its smelters. According to Adcarson, the operation is not expected to be a major focus for the company, which prefers to focus on large-scale mining operations.

“That (copper) scrap will be needed because I believe there is a real shortage of copper,” he said. “We do not see (recycling) as a Freeport business opportunity.”

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(Report by Ernest Scheyder, edited by Cynthia Osterman)

Costs are unclear as Freeport converts mining trucks to green power

Source link Costs are unclear as Freeport converts mining trucks to green power

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