Roadmap to Net Zero

The Quiet Decarbonisation Revolution

The Quiet Decarbonisation Revolution: Maximising Efficiencies at Mining Operations



As mining companies continue to cut emissions to meet Net Zero targets, we hear a lot about the large-scale decarbonisation technologies, such as solar, wind, batteries and hydrogen.  There’s no doubt that these solutions can and will take large bite-size chunks out of mining’s emissions profile, but they often require a lot of time, investment, planning, integration and change management.

What we don’t hear so much about is what we at VoltVision call the ‘Quiet Decarbonisation Revolution’. These are the less obvious but still hugely impactful technology solutions, like VoltVision’s, that are already out there in the market improving operational efficiencies at current mine sites.  Many of these solutions require no CAPEX and can deliver quick efficiency results, fast payback and have proven track records. They are helping mining companies improve operational efficiencies in a variety of different ways and in doing so reducing emissions by anything from 3-15%.


“When we think about energy, we tend to focus on the supply side and for good reason – with the phasing down of coal mining and scaling up of renewables… But I believe it’s the demand side that must be addressed. Specifically, reducing energy demand through energy efficiency.” Valentin de Miguel, Chief Strategy Officer – Growth Markets, Accenture.


Why you shouldn’t ignore these solutions

First, despite the relatively small impact each efficiency solution can make, in comparison to the large CAPEX solutions, multiple  small efficiency savings really add up! VoltVision alone can help reduce energy consumption and CO₂ emissions by about 10%, which equates to a power cost saving of around 15%. Cumulative efficiencies across grid, diesel generators, fleet, water consumption, logistics, maintenance etc can make a significant and fast impact on your emissions reductions, with little or no CAPEX.

Many of these solutions have been enabled by digitisation. Advances in Cloud technology mean that large amounts of data can now be securely transmitted, stored, assessed and visualised in a meaningful and cost-effective way, in real time via the Cloud. Improvements in AI mean that we can now harness human expertise and combine this with programmed algorithms to quickly analyse data and turn it into easy-to-interpret dashboards. This democratisation of information is helping break down silos in mining, providing access to data at all levels of an organisation and across the mining sector from global Tier 1s to small Juniors. VoltVision is a perfect example of one of these technologies – digitising high and medium voltage power networks and assets, transforming power data into actionable information.

Second, when planning for large CAPEX infrastructure projects such as solar parks, wind farms or hydrogen energy, which can deliver the biggest carbon reductions, it’s essential that efficiencies have been maximised so that they are not carried forward.  ‘Baking-in’ inefficiencies means you will waste a percentage of your CAPEX through oversizing.


“Renewable energy is always seen as the star striker scoring all the goals, but energy efficiency is the box-to-box midfielder, the driving force for the team, essential to have any chance of winning.” Energy Managers Association


Energy Efficiencies

Renewable energy may dominate the headlines, however, energy efficiency is critical in the pathway to Net Zero. According to data provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Global energy intensity improved by just over 2% in 2022, but it needs to double to 4% annually by 2030 to meet global efficiency targets.

“Given how critical energy efficiency is, it is remarkable how little attention is devoted to it, about how and where critical savings can be made, and how much unfulfilled potential for improving there still is. However, because energy efficiency is not ‘visible,’ it often is not given the policy and investment priority it deserves.” Source: Energy Managers Association


How VoltVision Delivers Energy Efficiencies

VoltVision digitises high and medium voltage industrial power networks, transforming power data into actionable information. VoltVision’s data and AI platform VIVID effectively shows the mine operator what their power is doing: where they are receiving it from, how it is behaving over the whole network, and exactly where it is being used. We help our clients identify inefficiencies in granular detail so they can make the changes needed to save small amounts of energy in lots of different places. These multiple ‘quick wins’ add up very quickly. Obviously when you reduce your power use you also reduce your CO₂ as the two go hand in hand.

Additional benefits of a digitised, centralised, energy monitoring system include:

  • Understanding your Power Profile – by digitising your entire power network, mining companies can for the first time fully understand their Power Profile – how, how much and when they use energy, and how much CO₂ they are emitting, whilst at the same time implementing these cumulative efficiency improvements.
  • Accurately reporting on emissions – power digitisation provides you with an accurate baseline of data to report your emissions from.  VoltVision’s data is time-stamped at source so it’s auditable and can inform SBTi programmes. This is really important when it comes to ESG reporting. When mining companies want to make changes to the power network, like integrating a solar plant or reducing the use of diesel powered generators, they can see very clearly the drop in CO₂, and accurately report it.
  • Billing Verification – VoltVision’s meter readings are automated, time-stamped and therefore auditable, meaning they can be used to accurately compare and if necessary challenge any utility billing discrepancies or over-charging.
  • Automated meter readings –automation reduces the risk of inaccurate meter readings and, in many cases, the daily requirement for electrical engineers to physically collect readings; saving manpower and fuel consumption.

“Tackling climate change requires mining companies to become responsible power users. This means taking a comprehensive ‘no stone unturned’ approach and we believe that efficiency solutions such as VoltVision’s are an integral part of any mining company’s road map to Net Zero.” Manoli Yannaghas, Managing Director VoltVision



Further Reading:

Energy Management Platform Increases Efficiency – Mining Weekly

VoltVision moves to Phase 2 of digitising Endeavour’s West African gold mine power networks International Mining Magazine

Supporting Mining Companies to Overcome Power Issues in Africa – VoltVision

Energy efficiency levers, inspired by the B20 – Accenture

Energy Efficiency Needs to Double – World Economic Forum

Role of Energy Efficiency in a Net Zero Strategy – Energy Managers Association

Democratization of Data – Mining Journal


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