At the Reuters Next conference, CEO Richard Adkerson of copper mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. stated that even though the costs have not yet been identified, the business is moving its diesel truck fleet and other equipment to electric or hydrogen power.
In addition to being a significant supply of copper and lithium for renewable energy sources, the mining industry also contributes to global warming.
Last year, Freeport acquired 180 million gallons of diesel to power those machines as part of its scope one (direct) emissions. An electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle is tested in Indonesia at the Phoenix Copper Mine, the second-biggest copper mine. The mining industry is caught in a no-win position. It is a significant supply of copper, lithium, and other essential components for renewable energy sources while contributing to climate change.
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Last year, Freeport acquired 180 million gallons of diesel to power those machines as part of its scope one (direct) emissions. Adkerson said that lowering carbon emissions will need financial obligations in a recent interview. “We’ll do just that. You’ll need some cash for this.” An electric and hydrogen-powered car is tested in Indonesia at the Phoenix Copper Mine, the second-biggest copper mine. Rio Tinto, BHP Group, and other mining corporations engage in the Charge on Innovation Challenge to increase mine site electrification.
Hydrogen fuel consortiums in South America have joined up with Komatsu and Caterpillar to test diesel-electric cars next year. If Freeport’s whole fleet is powered entirely by renewable sources, it is not yet clear how this would affect its annual operating costs. Freeport’s CEO since 2003, Adkerson, emphasized the need to lower emissions as an “absolute necessity.” He blamed the harsh weather on climate change, and mining copper, which emits emissions, is incompatible with renewable energy options, according to him. “The world will need copper, but copper mining generates emissions,” he said.
Adkerson, the head of the industry trade group ICMM, has set a goal for all members – including Freeport – to achieve net-zero direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner. Freeport’s mining waste rock might provide up to 10 billion pounds of copper via repurposing. It’s still in its infancy, but “our technical staff is quite excited about it,” says Adkerson. Electrical waste is being recovered at a Freeport smelting in Spain. He said that the firm prefers to manage large mines and that the operation is unlikely to prioritize them.