Exploration firms the biggest winners of renewables use in mining — study

Most renewable energy players target solar or wind power plants to large-scale miners, but a new study shows that to due to how remote exploration camps usually are, these firms would be the most benefited by the adoption of mobile solar and wind power generation solutions.

Power generation costs could be dramatically reduced by adopting semi-portable, flexible solar and wind energy solution.

Power generation for mineral exploration camps is mostly fuel-based and that diesel needs to be transported over long distances by truck or even by helicopters, which makes it a particularly expensive option.

According to German consulting firm THEnergy, those costs could be dramatically reduced by the adoption of semi-portable, flexible solar and wind energy solutions, which cost has declined in the last 10 years.

One of the main challenges consists of dealing with the relatively long lifetime of traditional renewable energy power plants, which are normally laid out for operations of 25 years or more, the authors write.

But Mineral exploration camps typically cover only a relatively short part of the mining value chain, so power requirements are still low in comparison to the consequent extraction operations, the note.

Finally, at the exploration stage, there is no guarantee of finding enough mineral deposits to justify setting up a mining infrastructure.

That is why the authors suggest that exploration companies would benefit from solutions that minimize the effort of dismantling power-generation plants and rebuilding them at a new location.

The full study can be downloaded here.