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Now Fossil Fuel Suppliers and Mining Firms Turn to Renewables

17 May 15:00 by Steve Walia

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Global mining operators, including some of the largest producers of fossil fuel in the world, are now also working to incorporate greater use of renewable energy into their business, as they seek to drive down emissions and manage their operating costs.

Glencore, which is one of the largest shippers of coal, confirmed in this year's sustainability report that it is deriving 19pc of its total power needs from renewable energy sources - up from 18pc last year.

It repeated its previously published view, however, that the world as a whole would continue to rely on coal, which is the most polluting of the fossil fuels, and said that it saw no risk to its own business of increasing green energy adoption.

Its report said that although it expected to see the relative share of green energy increase, the total amount of fossil fuels would also increase thanks to growth in overall energy demand. They pointed to demand in particular from the global cement and steel industries.

However, Glencore has also said that it supports policies that work towards reducing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions whilst supporting energy security.

The cost of renewable energy has dropped significantly in recent years as technologies have improved, and campaigners say that it now tends to be amongst the cheaper fuels.

Mining companies argue that coal can still be sold more cheaply and more reliably, but they have been turning to solar and wind power in regions where mining operations occur and where infrastructure is poor. In these instances, it can produce energy on-site rather than needing to rely on intermittent grid-supplied power.

Another large miner, Rio Tinto, is also now deriving 36pc of its operational energy from hydropower and other renewable energy sources.