LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – It’s not quite yet a flood but Australian resource companies are increasingly embracing renewable energies into their mining and natural gas operations even in the face of a federal government that veers toward climate scepticism.
Among recent developments are moves by Rio Tinto to convert its iron ore trains to hybrid power, the commissioning of a solar power plant at an oil and gas facility operated by Santos in South Australia state, and battery storage being integrated into ConocoPhillips’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Darwin.
There are several other projects being undertaken or in place already, and it seems that momentum is growing among companies to look at ways of reducing the use of fossil fuels in mining and oil and gas operations.
The shift is significant given Australia is the world’s largest exporter of iron ore and LNG, and vies with Indonesia as the world’s biggest supplier of coal to the seaborne market.
Resource companies have been criticised by some environmentalists for not being proactive in meeting the challenges posed by climate change, and recent comments by several chief executives show an increasing awareness that maintaining public support is going to be dependent on doing more to be a responsible corporate citizen.