The Perth Future of Mining and Mining Select conference is in its second day, with a panel discussion focusing on the role of hydrogen and future energy fuels in the mining industry. The panel featured Reza Taheri from ABB ANZ, Peter Mann from Partners in Performance, and Dominic Da Cruz from Zenith Energy Pty Ltd.
Infrastructure readiness was emphasized as a crucial factor in the success or failure of hydrogen initiatives in Australia. Taheri highlighted the importance of infrastructure in realizing the vision of fully developed electrification initiatives. Da Cruz expressed skepticism, stating that infrastructure projects funded by grants are unlikely to commence before 2027, and the cost of hydrogen production is not yet competitive with offshore markets.
Peter Mann discussed the need for decarbonization in mining operations, with electrification and alternative fuels playing key roles. He noted that infrastructure for electrification is well developed in ore and waste movement, but progress in alternative fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels is still nascent. Mann also emphasized that the success of alternative fuels is highly dependent on location and proximity to infrastructure.
Taheri highlighted the need for fast battery charging to enable the electrification of vehicles on mining sites. The availability of charging infrastructure was identified as a constraint. Mann addressed the economic viability of electric trucks and acknowledged the need for operational changes to make them more compelling for mining companies.
Da Cruz expressed reservations about the current viability of hydrogen as a fuel. While he acknowledged its potential benefits for asset longevity and more efficient fuel cells, he emphasized the challenges of achieving maximum utilization of electrolyzers. Mann also expressed skepticism about Australia’s ability to export blue and green hydrogen compared to countries with more favorable solar and wind dynamics. However, he expressed interest in Australia’s potential for green steel production.
Regarding renewable diesel, its affordability is likely to be influenced by currency exchange rates, making it more cost-effective in countries with cheaper currencies.
Sources: Perth Future of Mining and Mining Select conference speakers