Minimising Mining's Footprint: Economic, managerial and social drivers and barriers to the decarbonisation of energy consumption in the mining sector

Minimising Mining's Footprint

Project dates: 01/07/2020 - 31/12/2021

This 18-month project, funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), analyses innovation processes related to energy transition in the mining sector with a focus on drivers and barriers to the implementation of carbon neutral energy solutions and emerging hydrogen technologies at mining operations.

Project title

Minimising Mining’s Footprint: Economic, managerial and social drivers and barriers to the decarbonisation of energy consumption in the mining sector

Aim and objectives

The reduction of harmful emissions from mining operations is a pressing issue to mitigate climate change impacts, while at the same time mining is an important factor for the national economy and the labour market. Reduction of energy consumption and its decarbonisation in mining is therefore of high importance from an economic, business and social perspective including maintaining a social licence to operate.

Initial attempts and pilot projects can be observed across the Australian mining and minerals sector which aim to reduce energy consumption and emissions, such as by utilising renewable energy. Ongoing technological developments related to electric vehicles, equipment and batteries as well as hydrogen storage and fuel cell heavy vehicles create technical opportunities towards an ‘electric mine’ or ‘green mining’. However, a range of technological, operational, economic, behavioural and ecosystem characteristics constitute considerable challenges for the implementation of new technologies impeding the transition to a less carbon-intensive energy consumption.

Energy transition requires changes to the mining industry that go far beyond merely implementing a new technology. Therefore, an examination of system-level dynamics is needed to understand innovation processes which drive or hinder the decarbonisation of energy consumption in mining. This project aims to provide a better understanding of these crucial innovation processes relevant for a successful energy transition and to avoid system failure.

Project outcomes

Outcomes of the project will include tools and models illustrating drivers and barriers either supporting or blocking innovation processes, as well as strategies which can be employed to mitigate or overcome blocking mechanisms. Resulting findings, tools and models are expected to be of value to the mining industry, policy and industry associations.

Project outcomes will be disseminated via an information hub stimulating knowledge sharing. This will include industry case studies which can serve as a hands-on orientation for firms and other organisations to build capabilities relevant for a carbon-reduced economy and to overcome barriers to the decarbonisation of mining und the utilisation of renewable energies. Further, interactive tools will be developed which can be used as a source of information for industry, community and researchers.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about this project, please contact us:

Phone: +61 7 3138 9216


GPO Box 2434
Brisbane, QLD 4001

Level 7, Z Block, Gardens Point Campus
2 George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000

Funding / Grants

  • CRC ORE (2020 - 2021)

Chief Investigators