BHP boosts green credentials with renewable energy contracts

The Spence operation in Chile. Image: BHP.

BHP will significantly reduce energy costs at its Escondida and Spence copper mines after signing new renewable energy contracts at the Chilean mines.

The projects are estimated to reduce energy prices by 20 per cent and displace up to three million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the operations.

BHP president operations, minerals Americas Danny Malchuk said the agreements would not only improve the company’s business, but also generate strong environmental and social values.

“Population growth and higher living standards combined with greater electrification are expected to push up demand for copper,” Malchuk said.

“The new energy contracts, along with our investment in desalinated water in Chile, demonstrate social value in action and help drive the wider agenda for sustainable green copper.

“Social value is one of our strategic pillars that we embed in all our decision-making and informs the way in which we provide resources and generate long-term, sustainable value.”

BHP will also transform the way it manages power at the mines after negotiating four power contracts that will help the company meet Chilean requirements that the operations generate energy from 100 per cent renewable sources by the mid-2020s.

Malchuk said once they were fully operational, the renewable supply arrangements would “eliminate virtually all of Escondida and Spence scope two emissions” and effectively displace up to three million tonnes of CO2 annually.

“This is the equivalent to annual emissions from about 700,000 combustion engine cars and accounts for around 70 per cent of BHP’s Minerals Americas total greenhouse gas emissions,” Malchuk said.

These actions are also set to support Chile’s wider ‘Energia 2025’ power policy target for 20 per cent of Chilean energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.

Water is also a precious commodity that is crucial for BHP’s operations in Chile, allowing it to operate effectively in regions such as the Atacama Desert.

“Our water stewardship position statement launched last month outlines our vision for a water secure world by 2030,” Malchuk said.

“It sets out our actions to improve water management within our operations and contribute to more effective water governance beyond the mine gate.”

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