Carbon Neutrality Technologies are Propelling Australia’s Mining Industry to New Heights

Delve into the 2022 Equinix Mining Technology Report to learn how the sustainability agenda is playing a key role in the growth and development of Australia’s mining sector

Guy Danskine
Carbon Neutrality Technologies are Propelling Australia’s Mining Industry to New Heights

There is clearly a strong business case to advance the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda. Companies and industries are facing increasing pressure from consumers to adopt greener measures, and COVID-19 has only heightened this. In a recent Australian survey, 79% of consumers were aware of brands’ sustainability practices, and the majority said sustainability was increasingly becoming top-of-mind when making a purchasing decision.[1]

Many companies have recognised this shift in awareness and recalibrated their sustainability strategies accordingly, predominantly in industries like mining and IT. The Equinix Mining Technology Report 2021-22, launched earlier this year, stated that 74% of mining leaders indicated sustainability was their most important business priority for 2022, alongside safety, compliance and social trust.

Undeniably, decarbonising mining is not easy. Australian mining leaders like OZ Minerals chief executive officer, Andrew Cole[2] and Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) chief executive officer, Tania Constable have acknowledged that establishing more sustainable processes when designing and operating mines in Australia will require extra effort and thought—but the potential gains will be worth it. When we spoke to Tania for this report, she stated, “The trends that we are seeing are leading to a transformation at a global level, in every part of our society. Climate change and ESG goals are a major trend that have turned our industry on its head—and the fact is, every part of our industry is decarbonising.”

Equinix Mining Technology Report 2021-22

This report presents a comprehensive view of the latest thinking and activities in the sector, while also exploring the intersection of its technology, people and operations. Our research draws on 50 interviews with mining leaders across key commodities, keeping our finger on the pulse to get a feel for what's happening both right now and may do in the immediate future.

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Rear view of female architect in protective workwear photographing quarry through digital tablet

The big question is, how is technology helping the mining industry with digital transformation so that it can achieve its ESG goals?

The automation and cohesion of digitalisation and sustainability

Digital infrastructure that provides flexibility and agility and facilitates collaboration can provide invaluable information to mining businesses, paving the way for decarbonisation and sustainability. In fact, it can be said that digitalisation and sustainability are intertwined.

The rapid growth of digitalisation experienced in recent years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, has made us rethink what it means to be truly sustainable, and the role that technology plays. By refocusing and looking at both elements together rather than as discrete components, businesses will be able to attain greater standards of sustainability while forging ahead in the digital space.

The explosive expansion of tech and digitalisation worldwide means it is more important than ever for mining businesses to follow through with decarbonisation plans. Fortunately, cloud computing provides a significant advantage over on-premises infrastructure when it comes to energy use. Research has found an estimated 72% to 93% improvement in carbon emissions and energy efficiency, making cloud a more attractive and sustainable data storage solution.[3 This is a big tick for mining businesses given the sheer amount of data each mine project collects, collates, and analyses over its lifespan.

Noting how crucial cloud-based data processing and computing has become for businesses, data centres across the world which specialise in cloud services have taken steps towards implementing greener solutions for more efficient data management. For example, our Australia facilities are certified to meet rigorous environmental and energy management standards, including ISO14001:2015 certification.

Elsewhere, our new Paris International Business ExchangeTM PA10—announced earlier this year—will utilise a heat recovery system to channel heat from equipment to other commercial use and build a hydroponic greenhouse to reduce waste and retain rainwater while also reducing waste heat emissions.[4]

Reaping the benefits of sustainable digital investment

Equinix was the first data centre company to commit to achieving climate neutral operations globally by 2030, and we’re making progress towards that goal each year. We design our facilities to be power-efficient—our Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) improved 5.5% from 2020 to 2021—and our global operations are currently 95% renewable. Two hundred of our IBX data centres presently are covered with 100% renewable energy, and our efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions are ongoing.

Sustainability is fundamental to how we do business here at Equinix, which means our partners are assured of our commitment to furthering ESG in everything we do. In this way, our customers in mining, or any other sector, can advance their own ESG agenda with the knowledge that they’re investing in sustainable digital infrastructure when partnering with us.

For the Australian mining industry, decarbonisation and sustainability across the supply chain will be a key area of focus going forward in 2022 and beyond, digitalisation will be an important tool in furthering this agenda. Dive into the trends that are shaping the mining industry in Australia with our research report, Equinix Mining Technology Report 2021-22, to better guide your digital approach to the future.

If you would like to speak to us about how Equinix can provide your company with sustainable digital solutions or improved data connectivity as discussed in this article, please contact us today.

[1] https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/the-consumer-sustainability-journey

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-03/australian-miners-ramp-up-plans-to-cut-carbon-emissions-cop26/100548190

[3] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-transformation-key-sustainability-edy-susanto/

[4] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digital-business-boom-and-sustainability-driven-initiatives-underpin-equinixs-investment-in-tenth-paris-data-center-301461383.html

Guy Danskine
Guy Danskine Managing Director, Australia