CEFC invests in mining clean tech to power a low emissions future
21 September 2022
The CEFC has committed up to $21 million to unlock and commercialise innovative technology solutions that will help mining operations decarbonise and reposition the sector to capture the benefits of the future low emissions economy.
The CEFC investment into the private equity fund RCF Jolimont Mining Innovation Fund II (“the Fund”), will back Australian companies working to develop the innovative solutions needed to reduce emissions in the hard to abate mining sector.
The Fund targets early to late-stage private mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies in Australia and internationally with strong growth potential. The CEFC commitment will be directed towards clean energy businesses developing industry specific software and technology developments to improve energy efficiency, develop mine-specific renewable energy storage solutions and increase electrification of mine site vehicles.
The Fund will consider the decarbonisation potential of the technologies under development and look for opportunities that foster an increased focus on net zero targets, with an emphasis on baseline reporting of Scope 1 and 21 emissions.
CEFC Resources Executive Director Rob Wilson said: “Decarbonising the mining industry is critical to Australia’s push towards net zero emissions and will position Australia competitively for the future.
"The Australian METS sector is a global leader in developing and implementing such technologies, giving Australian miners a competitive advantage.
“By driving the decarbonisation across Australia’s mine sites and related processing operations, we can help position the sector to benefit from the transition to a low emissions economy. And by backing the development of new technologies, we are supporting an industry that has the potential to export its innovations and reduce emissions globally.
“We are particularly pleased to be working with RCF who have exceptional experience in mining-focused private equity and in fostering the growth of mining innovation companies. The potential pipeline of investee companies offers an exciting opportunity to recast mining in Australia for the long term.”
A recent CEFC report into the mining sector found a strong business case for decarbonisation and warned that mining operations that did not act could suffer reduced competitiveness as the world transitioned to net zero emissions. The compelling case for decarbonisation: Mining in a low emissions economy, released by the CEFC and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, said that technology would play a significant role in decarbonisation and enable the sector to capture the economic benefits of the low emissions economy.
RCF Jolimont II Partner and Head of Funds Lyle Bruce said: “The global community’s ambitious decarbonisation objectives require access to critical minerals like lithium, copper, nickel, and others that are essential for electrification and decarbonisation. Low impact mining and mineral processing is possible with the application of innovation and technology.
"Mining now and into the future involves automation, robotics, predictive analytics, the internet of things – these are the emerging technologies mining is using to help us get to a low emissions world.”
The Fund is managed by Resource Capital Funds Management, a pioneer in the mining-focused alternative investment space. Its existing investee companies include Brisbane-based mining waste management technology provider Phibion, that responsibly manages mine tailings. Phibion’s purpose-built vehicle dewaters and consolidates mine tailings to improve safety and environmental performance of mining operations and decrease costs. The Fund has also invested in Mackay-based Real Time Instruments (RTI), which specialises in the real-time analysis of bulk materials to improve efficiency.
As a large emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, the mining sector offers untapped potential to help Australia reach its net zero commitments. It accounts for 9.5 per cent of national Scope 1 and 2emissions, with higher downstream emissions depending on the commodity. The high energy intensity of mining, heavy reliance on emissions intensive fuels like diesel and gas and lack of access to grid electricity have made it a challenging sector to decarbonise.
CEFC investments in the resources sector include the Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora Project in Western Australia and technology start-up Novalith for more sustainable lithium mining and production. The CEFC has also invested in Australian battery technology producer 3ME Technology, enabling miners to replace diesel engines with cutting-edge battery systems and financed the world’s heaviest hydrogen zero emissions electric trucks through its commitment to Ark Energy Corporation in Queensland.
1. Scope 1 and 2 emissions refer to those emissions within an organisation’s operational control, such as those emitted from direct processes at a facility. Scope 3 emissions are those outside an organisation’s operational control, such as transport and distribution, leased assets and capital goods.
Media release, 2022