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Astron Energy At The 2023 Mining Indaba

At the recent Investing in African Mining Indaba, the spotlight was put firmly on new sources of sustainable energy, with South Africa said to be strategically placed to be a regional leader in creating a green energy future. The event gave Astron Energy an opportunity to showcase our range of mining solutions that enable our customers to address operational challenges and improve efficiencies. 


Covered in this article

The National Energy Plan
The challenge
Our value-added services

The National Energy Plan

Renewable energy capacity was said to increase by 8% to 320 GW in 2023 in SA, following the example set by the US to spend $ 320 billion on renewable energy in the next decade. The indaba stressed the importance of supply chain security for the energy transition, as well as the investment opportunities to be gained by the commodities super-cycle.

In his address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the mining sector has been making strides toward generating its own electricity, with 89 embedded renewable power generation projects developed. He said that the National Energy Plan is doing its best to bolster existing power stations and add new capacity to the grid. He added that in the last six months, there have been signed agreements for 25 renewable projects (2,800 MW worth), and that the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects is being removed.

According to a report by the IEA (International Energy Agency), mining’s clean energy changeover will need mineral supplies for clean energy to increase fourfold by 2040. However, attendees were told that that mineral and metal supplies could run out by 2025. This means that more exploration, collaboration and innovation were needed to meet supply goals. The IEA report stated that electric vehicles and battery storage will make up 50% of mineral growth requirements for clean energy transition over the next 20 years.

The urgent need for clean energy resources was discussed, such as battery storage, solar panels and wind turbines. Minerals for batteries, like nickel, copper and graphite, were said to govern future mineral demand, and lithium will experience the greatest growth rate. As Africa has huge lithium resources, continental leaders were urged to cooperate to establish a lithium hub to supply the mounting need.

In terms of the IDC’s (Industrial Development Corporation) 2022 Energy Transition Survey, a big portion of mining companies falls short of meeting carbon dioxide reduction targets, as well as decarbonisation goals. Solutions, like microgrids for on-premise energy generated from greener resources, were offered. Because mines are mostly found in isolated locations, on-premise energy management using automated programmes will increase energy resilience and dependability. 

A carbon-neutral future will help protect against climate change by moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy to power all of human society, from transport and heating to cooling needs for industry. Mines in particular have the opportunity to move from diesel to smart energy solutions which are a mix of integrated electrical microgrids to reduce CO2 emissions.


The challenge

The challenge of conducting long-distance renewable energy in remote, off-grid places is that mines need to integrate all of these technologies. For a complete energy transition to take place, mines need to have a solution which has a grid and off-grid connections. This will guarantee grid stability and a reliable source of power to lessen operational costs and ensure compliance with grid regulations. 

Other mining energy challenges include decreasing grades, technical issues with finding remote ore bodies, carbon footprints and the cost instability of the energy needed to keep operations running at their peak.

The indaba drove home the fact that bigger mines which use a blend of energy sources need a modern network management system that allows them to capture, analyse and manage the stream of data coming in. This will let them optimise all of their processes to maximise productivity and boost revenue.

Our value-added services

Mines and construction projects must maintain their schedules if they are to be successful, but ensuring that their operations are environmentally responsible must also be a top priority.

As part of the comprehensive approach we take to ensuring the success of our customers, we provide assistance in navigating the socio-environmental challenges they face.

Our high-quality fuels and the premium lubricants that we provide are formulated to support the performance of equipment (despite the harsh elements that are encountered around the clock). This ensures dependable performance and protection to cut down on downtime and maximise profitability.