Coal mining to move to more sustainable practices

23rd February 2024 By: Halima Frost - Senior Writer

Coal mining to move to more sustainable practices

THE FUTURE IN OUR HANDS The future of coal as an energy source needs to be aligned with more sustainable mining practices

The ongoing shift from traditional coal mining to sustainably mined coal in 2024 and beyond will “witness remarkable advancements” in new coal mining methods, driven by innovative technologies and evolving industry practices, says coal procurement, mining project development and services company Alpha Resources and Investments founder and CEO Selim Kaymak.

The move has been gaining traction in the South African market, prompted by regulatory imperatives, environmental concerns and shifting consumer preferences.

“One can expect to see an increase in clean coal technologies, such as advanced carbon capture and storage systems, alongside the increased use of renewable-energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to power mining operations,” adds Kaymak.

As a result, there is a growing recognition among mining companies of the importance of adopting sustainable practices to remain competitive and secure long-term viability.

While the pace of adoption may vary among producers, owing to factors such as financial constraints and technological readiness, he says the overall industry consensus indicates a rising commitment to sustainability.

Company Focus

“Alpha Resources has been at the forefront of championing this shift towards sustainable mining practices, leveraging its expertise and innovative solutions to drive positive change,” enthuses Kaymak.

This shift has been applied to projects ranging from large-scale renewable-energy installations to localised community development programmes. These projects typically involve collaborative partnerships with stakeholders across the value chain to drive positive impact and create shared value.

Meanwhile, the development of critical minerals has become an integral part of the company’s scope of project development.

“The future is green, and lithium, cobalt and rare-earth elements are the new gold rush,” says Kaymak.

Alpha Resources has partnered with clean energy companies to secure long-term contracts to become a responsible supplier in the energy transition commodities market.

The company drives its sustainability leadership “by not only preaching but also practising sustainable work ethics”, he adds.

“We help clients invest in green technologies, set ambitious sustainability goals and showcase their commitment to a cleaner future.”

Kaymak stresses that embracing the digital revolution, including technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and data analytics can optimise operations, reduce costs and improve safety.

“Be the smartest miner on the block, leveraging technology for positive change,” he advocates.

In conjunction with a growing emphasis on sustainable mining practices is a growing emphasis on improved methods of doing business, such as waste and tailings reclamation, land rehabilitation, as well as the adoption of digital technologies for enhanced operational efficiency and environmental monitoring.

Over the long term, this shift will change the coal mining industry for the better, paving the way for a more sustainable and environmentally responsible approach to resource extraction, adds Kaymak.

Looking to the Future

Significant advancements in sustainability and renewable-energy initiatives can also be expected in the base metal mining sectors.

As global awareness of environmental issues continues to increase, Kaymak adds that mining companies are increasingly embracing sustainable practices to reduce their ecological footprint and enhance their social licence to operate.

This includes the integration of renewable-energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into mining operations, as well as the adoption of innovative technologies for water and energy conservation.

Additionally, there will be a greater emphasis on responsible resource management, including biodiversity conservation, land rehabilitation and community development, to ensure the long-term viability of mining activities.

“Alpha Resources is poised to capitalise on a myriad of opportunities in the mining sector, driven by our commitment to innovation, sustainability and operational excellence,” he stresses.

This includes expanding its portfolio of sustainable mining projects, leveraging emerging technologies to enhance operational efficiency, and forging strategic partnerships to drive industrywide transformation.

“By staying agile, adaptive and forward-thinking, Alpha Resources aims to maintain its position as a pioneer in the mining industry and drive positive change for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he says, emphasising the importance of collaboration and collective action in addressing the complex challenges facing the mining sector.

Change is inevitable and the mining industry must adapt, Kaymak concludes.