Mining sector seeing geothermal as a “future opportunity”
With the Australian geothermal sector building on the mining traditions more than in other countries, the recent statement by a spokesperson for BHP Billiton is maybe not as surprising and shows the long term interest of this sector in geothermal.
We have been writing about the oil sector increasingly looking at geothermal energy as an option for expansion, the mining sector is interested as well. With the Australian geothermal sector building on the mining traditions more than in other countries, the recent statement by a spokesperson for BHP Billiton is maybe not as surprising and shows the long term interest of this sector in geothermal.
In the past mining companies, heavily depending on oil for electricity generation in the often remote mining locations, have looked at sourcing electricity more cheaply and increasingly from renewable resources. The best example is maybe the goldmine of Lihir Gold on Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea. There the geothermal resources were used to build a power plant, which today provides the mining operation with “green” electricity.
So in a recent interview, BHP Billiton corporate affairs manager Richard Yeeles said “the company recognised the potential of local solar energy, regional geothermal and the State’s wind resources and has had discussions with many specialise renewable energy companies.”
He further states, that “renewables could be a future opportunity for its expansions at Olympic Dam” in Australia, but that renewables aren´t powerful enough yet, but the company’s “investigation into potentially using geothermal heat in the Olympic Dam region is continuing, with the intention of proving the feasibility of base-load power generation.”
Mr Yeeles said BHP Billiton plans to source the electricity required for the desalination plant from renewable energy.
So while the time frame of geothermal development might be too long for BHP Billiton in Australia, other regions could see an involvement of the mining sector in geothermal development.
Australian Geothermal Energy Association Chief Executive Susan Jeanes states that, “If BHP and other mining operations around South Australia are entering into the geothermal industry, that provides a very strong incentive and the operators need to take an interest so it can become accelerated.”
This definitely applies for any strong player getting involved in the sector. The recent example of Magma Energy Corp. shows how that mining experience plays into geothermal energy development and that some players in this sector, like Ross Beaty from Magma, are seeing the huge potential in Geothermal Energy.
Source: Roxby Downs Sun