Progressive rehabilitation has been the elephant in the room during the decarbonisation debate but is a fundamental part of the future equation, according to an industry expert.
Addressing the Resources Technology Conference about decarbonising technologies and reducing the footprint, Professor Kingsley Dixon, ARC CoE for mine site restoration, said it was not about planting more trees but rather about creating biodiverse systems.
“It is not well known, but outside of our oceans, the world’s soils are the largest repository of carbon. So it makes good sense for us to be focusing on creating healthy soils and I see this as the greatest carbon opportunity we have going into the future,” Professor Dixon said.
BHP head of innovation, sustainable operations Kirsten Rose, also on the discussion panel, said BHP had set targets of net zero emissions in the second half of the century, but anticipated that goal would be achieved closer to 2050 than 2099.
“Our current emissions predominantly come from three sources — electricity, diesel and fugitives — so in the medium term we’ve set targets to work with our suppliers and users to reduce emissions, recently committing $400 million to address this challenge,” Ms Rose said.
Woodside Energy vice-president HSEQ Debbie Morrow said the challenge of decarbonisation was that the world would continue to demand more and more energy, and gas was the solution.
“Gas is a lot cleaner than other fossil fuels and there’s a massive opportunity right now for us to look at powering the world’s shipping fleet with gas,” Ms Morrow told the conference.
Fortescue Metals Group manager energy and power strategy and legal Bethwyn Cowcher said its primary carbonisation area was using electricity and diesel.
“Unlike the more established companies in the Pilbara, we are comparatively new and have significant flexibility to put the right infrastructure to support renewable options which we are already doing,” Ms Cowcher said.
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