Sustainable energy roadmaps for remote mines in Canada


Durjoy Baidya, UBC; Ali Madiseh, University of British Columbia; Malcolm Scoble, The University of British Columbia

With its sizeable share in Gross Domestic Product along with its contribution to job and investment, markets mining is a leading source of wealth in Canada. However, to keep up with the growth in demand for metals and minerals across the world, the mining industry is moving to explore and extract resources which have been so far considered as “beyond norm” deposits. Extreme depths and remoteness constitute challenges for the development of such resources. Furthermore, the emergence of strict environmental regulations and restrictions on emissions and contaminants present an even more serious threat to the sustainability of the mining industry. Consequently, supplying electric power and thermal energy mining operations is and will remain one of the major constituents of operating costs and also an important hurdle in the development of a remote mine in Canada. Being an energy-intensive industry, Canadian mining sector appreciates the urge to transition towards more sustainable power/heat generation strategies which can also meet its responsibility in the reduction of carbon emissions and other pollutants. Offering a holistic view of the status quo of mining energy portfolio, the present study points out the various strategies that can bring more sustainability into the energy systems of Canadian remote mines through increasing energy efficiency, integration of renewable and development of microgrids. Conventional, contemporary and futuristic scenarios are canvassed through a comparative study that underlines the pace and momentum which are required for a safe and effective transition from conventional to contemporary and eventually towards the probable futuristic roadmaps. Last but not least, this study scopes the augury of the sustainable power generation for application in remote mines in Canada.
Keywords: Remote mining, energy roadmap, sustainable mining, energy management