A comprehensive greenhouse gas study of AVZ Minerals’ (ASX: AVZ) Manono lithium-tin project has revealed the completed development is likely to have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any global hard rock lithium miner.
The independent study was completed by global consulting firm Environmental Resource Management based on an open-pit mining operation at the Roche Dure pegmatite deposit producing lithium, tin and tantalum and was inclusive of all processing facilities.
It assumed annual production of 700,000 tonnes per year spodumene concentrate and 46,000tpa of primary lithium sulphate, with 153,000tpa of spodumene used as feedstock in primary lithium sulphate production.
The study evaluated the estimated scope one and scope two emissions associated with proposed mining, power, haulage and downstream processing operations during the project’s 20-year life, including land clearing, fuel consumption in mining equipment and transport vehicles, electricity production and blasting.
It took into account carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane gases using a methodology consistent with the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The findings showed Manono could have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any global hard rock lithium miner, due primarily to AVZ’s strategic location adjacent to the Mpiana Mwanga hydro-electric power plant which will be refurbished to provide the project’s energy requirements.
AVZ is aiming for the Manono project to be as close as possible to a “zero emissions” operation.
The company’s greenhouse gas mitigation measures include the purchase of an electric mining fleet once commercially-viable equipment is available; the generation of hydrogen from excess renewable electricity to enable the use of fuel cell electric vehicles; and the establishment of a 5,000 hectare carbon sequestration plantation.
The transition to electric mining and haulage vehicles is expected to reduce project emissions by an estimated 29,404t of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
AVZ is also investigating additional sequestration technology to recover carbon dioxide from diesel-fired calcining kilns and convert it on site to soda ash, thereby further decreasing its annual emissions.
Managing director Nigel Ferguson said the findings of the greenhouse study have been a encouraging step for Manono’s development.
“We will continue to strive towards improving our greenhouse gas emissions profile as we develop this world-class project,” he said.
“Ultimately, we want to see the electricity generated from the Mpiana Mwanga plant being used to operate all our mining equipment, making this project a fully ‘green’ mine with any surplus power provided into the national grid for use in the local township.”