Geothermal is a source of renewable energy that is retrieved from the earth’s core. Heat which is generated from the formation of planet and radioactive decay of materials, is then used to generate steam and make electricity. Overall, geothermal is a reliable source of energy that is very efficient, available 24/7 and reduces operating costs of mining operations significantly. They are also very safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Given its potential to create both heat energy and electrical generation for operations, the mining industry will significantly benefit from this source of energy in the long run.

Future Uses in Mining

The mining industry requires high and long-term power supply. With current high energy costs and increasing fuel prices, renewable energy solutions are required. Geothermal has the potential to eliminate complications currently present with other renewable energy sources. This includes, predictability, reliability and adjustability of the energy retrieved. Geothermal energy also allows for direct heating and cooling for mineral recovery, making it a highly competitive and viable long term solution in the mining industry.

There are three main future opportunities for Geothermal energy in the mining industry:

  1. Cost Reduction: Operating costs have the potential to be reduced with payback from capital investment. There may also be the possibility for government subsidies to decrease initial or future operating costs.
  2. Positive Environmental Impact: Will lower CO2 and other emissions, thus reducing carbon footprint. This allows for companies to meet their sustainability goals.
  3. Flexibility: Due to the long term nature of geothermal energy projects and establishment, may be considered a ‘bolt-on’ project. Therefore, costs associated with the development can be attached to a future project when up and running.