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Friday, November 18, 2011

Miners turn to renewable energy to cut costs

We were up in Toronto this week and found this great article in the Globe and Mail, which is a great newspaper:
Barrick's Punta Colorada wind farm in Chile - Barrick's Punta Colorada wind farm in Chile | Barrick

"Mining companies are gluttons when it comes to energy use as they haul, grind and process ore, but soaring costs and environmental concerns have many turning to cleaner alternatives.
With energy now representing about 25 per cent of production costs, more companies are making huge long-term investments in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects to cut expenses and clean up their operations.
Companies such as Barrick Gold Corp., Teck Resources Ltd. and Rio Tinto PLC have ambitious wind-farm projects under way that will reduce energy costs and provide the much-needed social benefit of showing the communities where they work that progress is being made to reduce their environmental footprint.
The investments are being made even as governments are still trying to figure out ways to reduce carbon emissions and regulate the industry through measures such as carbon taxes and credits.
Barrick Gold Corp, the world’s largest gold miner, is pushing ahead with alternative energy projects, and this week will inaugurate its $70-million Punta Colorada wind operation, the firstwind farm built by a mining company in Chile."
So, interesting contrast of a mining company, certainly not well liked by an environmentalist, but a very profitable industry that employees many people, investing heavily in renewable energy thereby reducing their carbon footprint.  Given that they are energy gluttons, as noted in the article, and 25% of their operating costs is energy related, this will be, at least, as marked improvement in their overall environmental performance while increasing their earnings.
Again, an example of a win-win in which a company invest in better managing their ecological discharge while getting more efficient and generating additional cash flow.
Thanks to the Globe and Mail for a great article.

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