Energy and mining - the home truths


Energy consumption rises as mines extract ore from deeper levels. Rising energy costs, increased public scrutiny and enhanced awareness of carbon emissions are factors which can influence mining companies to examine and reduce their energy use.

A comparison of best practice energy management initiatives of the 1970’s with more recent activities revealed that several measures reported for both periods were similar. After best practice measures have been adopted, the lack of reliable data will impede a continuous improvement approach.

Mining companies routinely report on sustainability issues via corporate sustainability reports, for which several frameworks exist. An assessment of the energy-related reporting requirements of these guidelines determined that the development of transparent, standardized reporting on energy matters from the mining industry is essential to stimulate progress. Mining-specific energy data was also available from Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre, as well as in two Canadian and one U.S benchmarking studies. However, these resources were reviewed and found to be problematic.

Examples of best practice as well as research and development initiatives in the mining industry are presented. A novel benchmarking approach, specific to mines, is proposed that could be used to demonstrate continuous improvement in energy efficiency within the mining industry.


Michelle Levesque a, b,*, Dean Millar a, b, Jacek Paraszczak c

a Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON, Canada P3E 2C6

b Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, ON, Canada P3E 2C6

c Department of Mining, Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Université Laval, 1065 Ave. de la Médecine, Québec City, PQ, Canada G1V 0A6