The Asia Miner

JAN-FEB 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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22 | ASIA Miner | Volume 14 • Issue 1 | 2017 THE term Energy-from-Waste (EfW) conjures up a very simple con- cept for non-practitioners in this field. Wherever a waste, residue or undervalued by-product of some agricultural, forestry or manu- facturing process arises, including end-of-life urban waste streams, the concept of at least recovering and realising the embedded or inherent calorific value seems intuitively preferable to simply dispos- ing (landfill/incinerating) or otherwise losing this energy in an energy hungry world. However, the devil is in the detail, and the detail includes really understanding what these 'wastes' are, and what they could/ should be converted into in a sustainable and fully inte- grated circular economy. Once these key foundation questions have been addressed, then, the focus productively turns to the logistics, systems, infra- structure and technologies needed to achieve the clearly defined outcome. What are 'wastes'? One could dedicate the entire agenda of a two-day conference to this issue - as the Australian Waste to Energy Forum in Bal- larat, on February 22 and 23 will do, at least in part. But suffice to say that most of the time such 'wastes' arise as the by-product or secondary outcome of some primary activity: • Growing food/fibre; • Supplying the full range of goods and services to support our complex industries/economy; • Meeting the 'supply' from consumer 'demand'; or • Just managing the post-consumer fate of all such materials in the interest of public health and environment protection. In any event, such materials present as being of little or no readily realisable value to their current owner, but they could be to some subsequent specialist processor, if all the appropriate logistic and commercial networks were installed to achieve such an outcome. Energy from Waste: An apparently simple concept that is very complex to implement The Australian Industrial Ecology Network (AIEN) is pleased to partner with The ASIA Miner to offer this new supplement highlighting in- novations and case studies of successful industrial ecology endeavours and resource recovery undertaken in Australia. Coinciding with the AIEN's Australian Waste to Energy Forum on February 22 and 23, it is timely that the focus for this first edition is energy from waste technologies. Australian Industrial Ecology Network THE Australian Industrial Ecology Network (AIEN) is a vibrant network of like-minded individuals, companies and institutions with a common interest in sustainable development through the study and practice of industrial ecology. The organisation advocates the principles and concepts of industrial ecology in policy formation and business practice. The AIEN actively engages with other organisations to facilitate improved performance and environmental benefits. The AIEN offers a forum in which members can keep in touch, canvas issues of interest and connect with resources associat- ed with the practice and study of industrial ecology. For more information visit www.aien.com.au What could/should they be converted into? Again, the Australian Waste to Energy Forum will address this issue in some detail, but the short answer is to focus on the highest net resource value (HNRV) outcomes. The rationale for this is simple: To establish the systems, infrastructure and processing capabili- ties to convert wastes into valuable end products will inevitably in- volve allocating significant new capital, well in excess of the bare minimum to simply 'dispose' of the same materials, even through many jurisdictions imposed disposal taxes/levies in an attempt to encourage reprocessing rather than disposal. The funds to service these fresh capital allocations need to be recovered from the value of the reclaimed products, rather than the waste's generators who already pay substantial waste fees and are looking for such fees to stop rising, or experience less CPI downward pressure to recom- pense the efforts they now make to support and encourage such

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