Can you take the heat? – Geothermal energy in mining

Preene, M. and Younger, P.L. (2014) Can you take the heat? – Geothermal energy in mining. Mining Technology, 123(2), pp. 107-118. (doi:10.1179/1743286314Y.0000000058)

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Abstract

In 2013, there are less than 20 documented examples of operational geothermal systems on mine sites worldwide. This is surprising, since on remote mine sites, where fuels may have to be shipped in over great distances, heating and cooling from low-enthalpy geothermal sources may have a significant advantage in operational cost over conventional energy sources. A review of factors affecting the feasibility of geothermal systems on mining projects has been undertaken, and has identified the possible configurations of geothermal systems suitable for the exploration, operational and closure phases of mine development. The geothermal opportunities associated with abandoned or legacy mines are also discussed. The potential categories of heat reservoirs associated with mine sites are: natural ground; backfilled workings; mine waste; dewatering pumping; and flooded workings/pit lakes. The potentially lower operational costs for heating and cooling must be offset against the capital cost of a geothermal system. The focus for mine operators should therefore be on identifying at feasibility stage those projects where conditions are favourable for geothermal systems, the potential risks are understood, the economics are likely to be beneficial, and geothermal systems can be established while minimising additional capital costs.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Younger, Professor Paul
Authors: Preene, M., and Younger, P.L.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Mining Technology
Publisher:Maney Publishing
ISSN:1474-9009
ISSN (Online):1743-2863
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Maney Publishing
First Published:First published in Mining Technology 123(2):107-118
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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