Fuelling the future of mining

As pressures mount on the mining industry, it is imperative to extract value from alternative resources


KBR has experienced the intense pressure that has been applied to the mining and extractive industries’ supply chains by technological evolution and market dynamics.

Our successful mining and natural resources clients and colleagues are embracing disruptive and innovative business models, strategies and technologies to remain competitive during this state of flux.

Mining was seen as a stable industry for many years, providing the global economy with much needed commodities for manufacturing and trade.

The increasingly dominant markets associated with renewable energy and advanced consumer-based technologies have highlighted the importance of certain minerals to world trade.

Further, the heightened consumer and stakeholder corporate social responsibility-based pressures on environmental and social matters require the mature market players to adapt to stay relevant and progressive – and to maintain their licence to operate.

Total energy consumption of mining activities is estimated to be 6.2 per cent of the total global energy consumption with 40 per cent of consumed energy in mining used for overcoming friction.

Friction and wear is annually resulting in 970 million tonnes of CO2 emissions worldwide in mineral mining, accounting for 2.7 per cent of world CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, according to Macquarie, demand profiles for new entrants to the industry are shifting significantly with Tesla alone requiring up to 10,000 tonnes of cobalt a year that represents some 10 per cent of the current global market.

Combine this with the upward trends of electric-hybrid cars sales in Europe, increasing by 36 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 alone, and the need for sustainable and technological advances in mining is clear.

Stakeholder pressure to adopt sustainable business models, in increasingly challenge business locations, while providing ever-higher returns on investment, is fuelling the changes the industry needs. KBR is facilitating this change in a variety of ways.

The introduction of clean-fuel technology in the form of green fuels is gaining traction.  Specifically, local mine-site production of hydrogen, methanol and ammonia for fuel cell energy production use and management is becoming an economic reality.

Renewable mine-site energy production offers significant opportunities to decarbonise and reduce operating costs, while extracting value from the mine site as well as the ore below.

Integrating such an energy system upgrade within the supply chain requires a deep understanding in energy management, storage and connectivity.

Utilising hydrogen across a mine facility can have significant beneficial impacts to CO2 emissions, air emissions (particulates/NOx/SOx), permitting and compliance (national and international – IFC) and availability of finance.

KBR’s experience in integrating such energy systems into industry is encapsulated within our Energy 2.0 offering. Mine transportation, habitation, heat and power through to mine ore processing are key areas for potential improvements.

The application of renewable hydrogen in these areas of mine operation not only has significant economic benefits, but also beneficial logistical and operational impacts, eliminating the need for diesel fuel imports, providing a flexible expandable fuel source, transferable between facilities in provision of fuel for transportation, heat and power, and ore processing.

KBR adopts a phased approach to the implementation of Energy 2.0, from basic energy management techniques through to new energy management technologies, and onwards to the introduction and integration of renewable energy.

About KBR Consulting

KBR Consulting, a business unit of Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), provides consulting services to the energy, natural resources, water, chemicals, manufacturing and industrial sectors.

It has significant experience in natural resources. Within the oil and gas industry, our Granherne, Energo and GVA companies offer both upstream and offshore expertise.

We are currently engaged across the globe supporting businesses in overcoming challenges and realising opportunities. With our broad range of offerings, which include strategy, transaction advisory, project development and operational improvement, and access to a resource pool of more than 34,000 colleagues, our clients are realising their value first hand.

To learn more and connect with KBR Consulting please visit www.KBR.com                       

Or contact our team directly through Benjamin.sawford@kbr.com or simon.stanbridge@kbr.com