QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs

METALS explorer QMines has embarked on an ambitious mission of become Australia’s first zero-carbon copper and gold producer, this month signing an offtake agreement with a renewable fuel supplier.
QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs QMines looks to "renewable fuel" for drilling rigs

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Energy & Commodities

Paul Hunt

In an update to shareholders, QMines said the renewable fuel would displace 20% of its scope 1 diesel emissions. The company hopes to increase displacement of conventional fuels in the short term.

However, when asked by Australia's Mining Monthly, QMines could not explain what sort of renewable fuel, such as hydrogen or biofuel, it would buy.  

QMines is already using a small amount of solar at its Mt Chalmers mine site to support exploration activities and its small camp.

Its executive chairman Andrew Sparke said the company had been diligently working on a number of carbon abatement strategies.

"Our initial investigations show that diesel usage for exploration drilling and associated activities is expected to be our largest source of carbon emissions," he said.

Decarbonising the gold industry is seen as one of the major challenges for miners.

In 2019, gold mining accounted for 0.2% of total global carbon emissions, emitting more than 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

QMines is certainly not on its own in its carbon cutting ambitions.

More activity and commitments to lower carbon gold have been made by large companies to date.

One of the largest gold producers in the world, Newmont which operates the Tanami mine, is targeting a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases across its operations by 2030.

It hopes to achieve this through a combination of renewable power at its mine sites, and by converting its mining fleets and production equipment from diesel to electric.