Anglo American to run South America mines 100% on renewables

Anglo to run South America mines 100% on renewables
Quellaveco mining camp. (Image courtesy of Anglo American Peru.)

Anglo American (LON:AAL) has signed a deal to run its Quellaveco copper mine in Peru 100% on renewables, effectively allowing the miner to deliver on its promise of powering all of its Latin American operations by green energy by 2022.

The company vowed two years ago to meet power requirements of its copper operations in Chile with renewables by 2021. It also said it expected to have its iron ore and nickel operations in Brazil, as well as its copper mine in Perú, relying solely on green power by 2022.

“Our sourcing of only renewable energy to power our operations across South America marks another step towards our 2030 GHG reduction target of 30%,” Anik Michaud, director of corporate relations and sustainable impact at Anglo American, said in the media statement.

Anglo American has committed to become a carbon neutral miner by 2040

The diversified miner has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. Earlier this month, it took a step further into exiting polluting commodities by announcing it would separate its South African coal assets into a new business this year.

The move came amid mounting pressure from investors, regulators and environmental organizations to make miners either divest coal assets or limit their exposure to the fossil fuel.

“Copper has such an important role to play in enabling the global transition to a low carbon economy,” Tom McCulley, CEO of Anglo American in Peru, said. “So it is important for Anglo American’s new world-class copper mine in Peru – Quellaveco – to lead the way by minimizing its own carbon and broader environmental footprint.”

Wind and solar

Engie Energía Perú, a subsidiary of France’s Engie, said in early April it planned to start working on the development of a $300 million, 260MW Punta Lomitas wind project in south-central Perú in the coming weeks.

The facility is expected to provide 150 MW for an initial eight-year period to Anglo’s Quellaveco, located in the Moquegua region. 

The copper project, with an expected capital cost of $5 billion to $5.3 billion, is expected to start operating in 2022, ramping up to full production in 2023. During the first ten years of full production Quellaveco is expected to produce approximately 300,000 tonnes per year at a cash cost of $1.05 per pound of copper.

Copper accounts for nearly 20% of Anglo’s annual revenue.

Anglo American also inked last year a 15-year contract in Brazil to buy 70 MW of solar power from Atlas Renewable Energy as of 2022 for its iron ore operation in Minas Gerais.