Mining in Mexico could be the industry with the highest demand for green energy according to a new study focused on green hydrogen. The study was carried out by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). It identified three main industrial sectors as presenting the most demand for green hydrogen: mining, chemical production and construction materials production (specifically, concrete). However, of these three, mining is expected to have the highest levels of energy consumption.
Half a million tons of green hydrogen could be employed to meet the mining sector’s energy needs by 2050. This green energy consumption would be focused on heavy and haul trucks, along with mineral processing facilities. Both of these activities already represent 80 percent of the industry’s energy needs. According to the study, the Mexican mining industry could be working with 1,500 extraction haul trucks powered by green hydrogen fuel cells by 2050.
The use of green hydrogen in mining, chemical production and construction materials production could replace the burning of up to 350Bcf of natural gas by 2050. At a global level, the mining industry is expected to be one of the most important drivers of green hydrogen demand as more countries are pressured to reach their energy transition goals.
Green hydrogen would be one of many green energy sources that could be employed in the decarbonization of the mining industry. Some mining companies have already begun taking an active role in this process. For example, Compañía Occidental Mexicana (COMSA), a Mexican mining company and producer of gypsum with approximately 100 years of history and an established presence all over the Pacific Coast, is already powering its Mexican worksites through a combination of green and low emission energy sources. “Since our analysis shows that the cost of solar energy has decreased 89 percent in the last 10 years, a solar microgrid and a natural gas backup system for emergencies ended up making more business sense, not to mention that it was fitted to our need for independence at our isolated locations,” said Marcello De María, Director General, COMSA, to MBN.
Another good example is the role that Iberdrola, Mexico’s largest private energy producer, is playing in serving the mining sector through solar energy. Mexico’s mining industry represents, at the moment, 7 percent of Iberdrola’s more than 3,500 clients in the country. The company is expecting this percentage to grow over the coming years given the sector’s energy-intensive nature. “Reducing their dependence on diesel and identifying further opportunities for increased energy efficiency are goals that can be achieved by mining companies when joining the Wholesale Energy Market (WEM),” said David Macías, Smart Solar Leader, Iberdrola, to MBN.