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Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Measuring and Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation » Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Published: May 01Project Number: C8061

Get ReportAuthor: Rusty Mark, Ryss Worrall, Cliff Mallett, Sheng Xue | CSIRO Exploration & Mining

The aim of this project is to develop draft greenhouse management and mitigation guidelines, including a set of key emission indicators for greenhouse gas, supported by standardised monitoring and reporting methods.

Fugitive emission of CH4 is the most significant source of greenhouse gas from coal mining, accounting for approximately 73% of the total (AGSO, 1999). Fugitive emissions were estimated at 18.7MT CO2-e for 1998, or 4.1% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions. Energy consumption in the process of mining coal is also a major source of emissions. Electricity consumption accounts for approximately 15 % of the coal industries' total, with diesel fuel 8%. Oxidation of waste coal through spontaneous combustion is likely to be a significant contributor to greenhouse emissions, but the extent is uncertain, and further research is being conducted to better understand it. Land use impacts (eg clearing) and the embodied energy contained in machinery and construction materials are minor components of the overall industry contribution to greenhouse emissions.

Industry monitors greenhouse emissions for: corporate policy objectives, international protocols adopted by Australia, Federal and State Government policies dictating greenhouse responses from industry, the need to meet public expectations, and the need to meet customer requirements. How these reasons are prioritised will vary between companies, and can dictate how and how comprehensively emissions are monitored.

The development of Key Emission Indicators (KEIs) is an important component of this report. In the development of relevant KEIs, the following four steps have been identified as important at both a macro and micro scale:

  • Identify greenhouse gas sources with the highest contribution to overall emissions
  • Assess the difficulty in measuring
  • Prioritise strategic programs according to maximum benefit and maximum feasibility
  • Identify areas that require significant research or technological development

The outcome of this approach is a strategic plan with accompanying KEIs at appropriate levels. The plan should account for KEIs which are immediately applicable and those which might be required in the future.

Five major areas of greenhouse gas emissions have been identified in this report: fugitive emissions; energy use; oxidation of wastes; land use and embodied energy. KEIs will be common between sites at these general levels of emission classification, but will become specific to individual sites as each level becomes more detailed.

The current Greenhouse Challenge Minerals Industry Greenhouse Challenge Workbook provides an excellent starting point for greenhouse measuring and reporting for the coal industry. When coupled with aspects of international standards such as the ISO 14001 and the continuous improvement cycle, the basics of a comprehensive reporting system are in-place. This report builds on these foundations and adds information on measuring precision, monitoring frequency, locations and automation for fugitive methane emissions, energy use (both fuel and electricity) and waste coal oxidation.

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