Chile's Sierra Gorda mine starts operating with 100% renewable energy

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023
Chile's Sierra Gorda mine starts operating with 100% renewable energy

Chilean copper miner Minera Sierra Gorda SCM has started operating with 100% renewable energy under a contract with generator AES Andes that runs until 2039.

The contract is for consumption of 1,310GWh/y from solar, wind and hydro sources, along with storage systems based on lithium batteries.

As a result, the Sierra Gorda copper-molybdenum mine will reduce its emissions by 1Mt/y of CO2, the company said in a release.

“You can do green and efficient mining with a low grade [of copper] like ours and develop production in a sustainable way,” said Tomasz Piwowarczyk, interim general manager.

The company already uses seawater at its mine in northern Antofagasta region that comes from the cooling process for a thermoelectric plant in Mejillones.

The system reaches pumping levels of over 1,500l/s and supplies all the processes of the operation, with the exception of certain specific activities and human consumption, Sierra Gorda said in a sustainability report.

In the first nine months of last year, Sierra Gorda produced 123,000t of copper in concentrate and 4,400t of molybdenum, according to its Q3 report.

Sierra Gorda SCM is a joint venture formed by Poland’s KGHM (55%) and Australia’s South32 Limited (45%).

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