Schneider Electric is ready to partner with mining companies, both large and small, to provide sustainable solutions that will help to reduce costs, improve resilience and protect the environment, Rob Moffitt, the president of Schneider Electric’s global Mining, Minerals and Metals (MMM) Segment told Business Report in an exclusive interview at this year’s African Mining Indaba 2024 in Cape Town yesterday.
“The three M’s I focus on cover the mining, metals, cement and glass industries, which collectively account for some 21% of global carbon dioxide emissions. These industries are the foundation blocks of society and our mission is to collaboratively ensure a profitable future,” he said.
This aim is in line with this year’s Mining Indada theme of “Embracing the power of positive disruption: A bold new future for African mining” and Moffit said Schneider focused on three main areas, namely automation, electrification and digitisation.
“The digitisation makes the invisible visible, so process engineers can optimise their processes so we reduce the use of inputs such as power, water and consumables,” he added.
To that end, Schneider currently has 51 sites that are net zero and has reduced energy consumption by 35% since 2009 and water consumption by 30% since 2007. This was achieved in part by having 80% of energy provided by renewable energy compared with only 2% in 2017, while 206 sites have zero waste to landfills from only 30 in 2014.
“Each site has its individually tailored solution as we do not believe in one size fits all. We aim to provide resilience to the companies we work with by reducing internal company volatility so that they are agile in a dynamic external environment,” he said.
According to analyst firm, Market Research Future’s recent report, Green Mining Market, the marketplace is set to grow at a rate of 10.5% per annum, reaching $25.8 billion (R486bn) by 2032. By increasing material and energy efficiency, and ensuring the availability of mineral resources, green mining aims to reduce adverse environmental and social impact at all phases of operations.
As the African continent is rich in mineral resources, Moffitt believes the time is ripe to start implementing green mining practices so that economies can benefit. This includes the communities surrounding the mines as smart microgrids can contribute toward improved energy operations, both for the mines and communities.