The Asia Miner

JUN 2018

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

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Page 20 of 51

the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 2 19 WASTE TO ENERGY Robust, Reliable Feeding and Crushing Equipment McLanahan provides Australian design combined with local support. Visit us at Coaltrans Asia 6-8 May 2018 l Stand A33 Coaltrans Conferences imports of finished goods manufactured overseas supplant local producƟon. Huge strategic problem – for Australia! Meanwhile, some of the stuff that will burn is burnt but as a specially prepared fuel, generally referred to, interchangeably, as processed engineered fuel (PEF), refuse derived fuel (RDF) or solid recovered fuel (SRF). These are high quality fuels, produced to specificaƟons for parƟcular purposes, which are exported as well as used domesƟcally and represent the HNRV for their consƟtuent materials, given prevailing technologies and market condiƟons. AUSTRALIA'S LICENCING LAG A stubbornly recurring issue and one of considerable sensiƟvity on both sides of the dilemma is the difficulty and cost of obtaining licenses to operate in Australia. In a case study from Germany, the proponent of a medium-scale EfW project constructed the plant and begin operaƟons within eighteen months of first applying for government approvals and social license. The case study of a similar project in Australia, illustrated a similar applicaƟon process, which took over three years – just to obtain government approvals. IS ENERGY FROM WASTE NEEDED? Swirling around the enƟre Forum was the simple, though provocaƟve quesƟon of whether or not Australia actually needs energy from waste. Analysis presented by the CSIRO concluded that if all the unprocessed MSW arising in Australia, including all the plasƟcs and other high-calorific material were converted into energy of various forms, it would provide about 1% of the country's annual demand. Aside from the argument that we should achieve the HNRV, it would seem that EfW in Australia is predominantly a waste management strategy. EFW AND MINING ImplicaƟons for industrialised socieƟes in general may be obvious but one might well wonder what EfW and recovering resources has to do with mining in parƟcular. Seemingly, perhaps, not much on the surface of things but there are some undercurrents, which may be worth keeping an eye on. The more resources are conserved, the less will be mined. More immediately, though, at least three possible opportuniƟes may aƩract some interest from miners. The most obvious is developing infrastructure to use putrescible and high-calorific waste arising on mine sites to produce energy for the site and local communiƟes. Perhaps not so obvious is urban mining: digging up landfill sites to recover materials that have a potenƟally posiƟve HNRV in the future. Another angle is using worked-out mines as repositories for materials recovered now but cannot be used immediately, even though it is known that they could be used in future. PlasƟcs, tyres and conveyor belts would be candidates for this strategy. Given there is insufficient demand currently in Australia for all such recoverable materials, they could be densified, for example, as 'hydrocarbon ingots or briqueƩes' and stored safely in mines so their value can be retrieved in future. Maybe a fanciful noƟon at the moment, but one never knows how things will change or when. IE in mining? The next arƟcle will be right back on topic!

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