Low-emissions mining solutions
As efficient specialist mine operators, contract miners have an important part to play in the sustainable development of the Australian mining industry. Consequently, at Downer Mining our environmental strategy is progressive and responsive, with a strong focus on:
- Delivering significant emissions reductions for our clients’ mining operations
- Preparing clients with the knowledge and technical support required to address the implications of the Clean Energy Legislative Package, including risks and liabilities associated with the carbon pricing mechanism
Our industry-leading performance is underpinned by our program of Low Emissions Mining Solutions, which has proven to mitigate carbon risks and energy costs. Benefits of this program include:
- Lower energy costs, carbon risk exposure and diminished carbon tax liability
- Reputational advantages to employees, community and government
- Enhanced sustainability values via a lower emissions profile
- Rigorous compliance with governance processes
Downer Energy and Emissions Measure (DEEM™)
Our unique DEEM™ tool enables us to quantify, compare and improve our operational fuel, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy performance. Besides its utility in setting targets and tracking performance against GHG and energy indicators, the DEEM™ also informs project business improvement decisions. The DEEM™ achieves this by quantifying and comparing the fuel, GHG emissions and energy efficiencies associated with: different mining methods; mine planning and design changes; haul road changes; changing equipment operator behaviour; mining plant selection; and fuel types.
At our operations at Commodore open-cut coal mine in Queensland, the DEEM™ has demonstrated a 30% reduction in GHG emissions and an 18% improvement in energy intensity over five years, as a result of the introduction of a range of improvements.
Biodiesel is a fuel with renewable content that offers a significant GHG emission reduction potential. Through extensive research and development, we are able to provide clients with a commercial, competitive and practical alternative to using 100% mineral diesel in their fleet. The use of a B20 diesel blend (20% renewable biodiesel) meets performance specifications and supply volume requirements. We commenced trials of B20 biodiesel in 2007, and now use it in our light- and heavy-vehicle fleets at Commodore and Boggabri open-cut coal mines, resulting in annual GHG emissions of over 10,500 tonnes CO2-e.
We are now the largest consumer of renewable fuels in the Australian mining industry.
Fugitive methane emissions assessment
Fugitive methane emissions account for a significant component of coal mine GHG emissions. The generic fugitive methane emission factors specified in the NGER Determination can result in substantial overestimation of carbon emissions and consequently the use of alternative measure methodologies.
Following our successful pilot site-specific assessment at Commodore, we are now able to provide (with key industry partners) the services necessary to develop a mine site-specific fugitive methane emission factor. Our methodology uses Australian and international sampling and analytical standards, and is compliant with the Department of Climate Change’s ACARP requirements.