Renewable energy for the aggregates industry

By |  January 19, 2015

Like some other types of mining, change comes very slowly to the aggregates industry. Pick up a 1950s-era photo of an aggregates plant from our extensive photo archive, and unless a vehicle is in the shot to give a clue to the date, the picture looks like it could have been taken yesterday. So the move to renewable energy sources for mines of all types around the world is a big change. We’ve reported on this change in the recent past, such as our article “Here comes the sun” from last October, detailing the use of solar power at the Stony Point Rock Quarry in California.

NBC News covered the subject recently in the article “Who Digs Solar and Wind Power? That’s Right: Miners.” Author John Roach says mines from the Americas to Africa and Australia are slowly becoming unlikely hotspots for the production and use of green energy.

“Mining companies are powering a portion of ongoing operations with renewable energy, which is now cost competitive with traditional fossil fuels and gives a green sheen to an industry often maligned by environmentalists,” Roach says.

He cites Henrika Ninham, investment relations manager at a South African mine, as saying, for now, the appeal renewable energy holds for the mining industry has its limits. For example, haul trucks and other mobile equipment need diesel fuel. And, Ninham says, “Solar power is great for daytime substitution, but the cost of storage prohibits using this source of energy during evening operations.” Still, its use is growing.

Dr. Thomas Hillig Energy Consulting has published “THEnergy study: The influence of renewable energy on the market value of mining companies.” The study highlights three areas in which renewable energy applications could potentially create benefits for the mining industry. We’ll have more about this study in an upcoming issue of Pit & Quarry. So stay tuned.

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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