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Gas “critical” to next gold rush

In a webinar held last night, APA Group General Manager WA Barrie Sturgeon said gas is “critical to powering our next gold rush.”

In partnership with APGA, the French Australian Chamber of Commerce (FACCI) has been holding an Energy and Resource webinar series, with the 23 July edition discussing how to best power Australia’s next gold rush.

The webinar featured three main presentations from industry members with extensive experience in the energy and gold mining sectors.

Mr Sturgeon began proceedings and said while APA started as a pipeline company, it had grown to be a energy infrastructure company that owns and/or operates a portfolio of gas, wind and solar power generation assets totalling around 909 MW.

“APA’s assets enable our customers to have a reliable energy source to supply their iron ore, nickel and gold mining operations,” he said.

Although one major asset, the Goldfields Gas Pipeline (GGP), initially transported most of its gas to nickel sites, the trends have seen an increase in volumes to gold mines from 2015, said Mr Sturgeon.

“[This] shows a background on how the gold has really stepped up and become an important commodity for our business,” he said.

Additionally, Mr Sturgeon said the “delivered natural gas price, with a longer term and a rising gold price,” assisted with the decision to build a new gas pipeline infrastructure in Western Australia back in 2014.

APA Group made agreements with AngloGold to transport gas to its Sunrise Dam and Tropicana Gold mines from the pipeline and since then “have six gold mines operating and connected to that pipeline.”

“The Gold Fields system has continued to support growth and development on the resource sector.

“A cluster of opportunities around the Gold Fields region including gold opportunities where we are looking to provide them with a good, reliable source of energy through pipeline gas.”  

Gold Fields Energy Manager James Koerting followed Mr Sturgeon’s lead with a presentation of powering gold fields with renewable energy, commenting that integrating renewable energy with gas has been most effective.

“Currently 94 per cent of electricity use is from pipeline gas,” said Mr Koerting.

“Last year we had 1 per cent of energy generated from renewables, but we’re hoping to get this figure up to 10 per cent.”

Mr Koerting said one of the risks of renewable energy is a much larger capital expenditure than gas, which is why the integration of energy sources remains essential.

The final presentation of the evening was from French multinational utility and renewable energy-focused Engie Impact.

Engie Impact Technical Manager Niels Leemput solidified the topics of the previous two presentations and focused on the importance of decarbonising the energy supply chain, especially considering these assets have a very long lifetime.

Once the presentations had concluded, the virtual floor was open for questions asked to each of the presenters for their individual opinions.

The event was completed with networking sessions with three separate rooms and a speaker present in each room, allowing all participants to connect and network in eight minute segments before moving on to the next room.

For more information visit the FACCI website.

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