BHP to power coal mines with renewable energy

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Australia’s largest mining company will power its coal operations with wind and solar energy in a power purchase agreement that will help sustain four large-scale renewable energy projects.

BHP will buy wind and solar energy from CleanCo, a government-owned renewable energy retailer, to power up to 50 per cent of its Queensland coal operations by 2030.

CleanCo buys renewable energy and then onsells it to large-scale industrial and commercial customers.

It has offtake agreements with the Dulacca and MacIntyre wind farms and the Western Downs solar farm in Southern Queensland.

CleanCo also has a capacity purchase agreement with Neoen’s Kaban wind hub in North Queensland, which means it will purchase 100 per cent of the energy generated at the hub.

BHP president Australia Geraldine Slattery said the link with CleanCo would improve the long-term sustainability of BHP’s business and support regional communities and jobs.

Some 1500 construction jobs went into building the four projects, with Dulacca expected to come online in late 2023 and MacIntyre due for completion in 2025.

“We are increasing renewable electricity at BMA in line with our decarbonisation commitments to 2030 and beyond,” Ms Slattery said.

“We expect demand for Queensland’s higher-quality metallurgical coal to remain strong for many years to come, as major steelmakers look to reduce their emissions intensity while delivering the steel needed to support global population growth and decarbonisation infrastructure.”

BHP has a purchase agreement in place with CleanCo to 2025 and it will now extend to the end of 2030.

The miner hopes to achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and substantial parts of the company’s operations are being reconfigured to meet the goal.

In August, the company signed an MOU with Toyota Australia to electrify its fleet of 5000 vehicles.

In Central Queensland, BHP operates seven coal mines in conjunction with Mitsubishi.

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