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Journal Articles Resources, Conservation and Recycling Year : 2021

Renewable energy can make small-scale mining in Europe more feasible


As one of the largest energy consumers and greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, the mining industry is switching to renewable energy to help reduce its energy and environmental impacts. There are already renewable energy systems (RES) in operation at large-scale mines. However, for off-grid small-scale mining operations, conventional diesel generators are still preferred given their mobility and modularity. The aim of this paper is to assess the techno-economic feasibility of RES for switch-on, switch-off mining, an emerging concept for mobile small-scale mining, in Europe. Simulations were performed using the HOMER Pro software to evaluate whether mobile and modular containerised RES available on the market are economically viable compared with diesel generators for potential mine sites across Europe. The results suggests that mobile and modular containerised RES are technically and financially feasible for powering switch-on, switch-off mining at different geographical locations in Europe, with varying system designs depending on the renewable resources available and providing significant reductions in GHG and air pollutant emissions. However, the use of RES in SSM could potentially have both positive and negative environmental and social impacts from a life cycle perspective, which extend beyond the mine site due to a diverse supply chain and deserve further research.


Earth Sciences

Dates and versions

hal-03745753 , version 1 (04-08-2022)



Anshul Paneri, Kathryn Moore, Antoine Beylot, Stéphanie Muller, Marius Braun, et al.. Renewable energy can make small-scale mining in Europe more feasible. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2021, 172, pp.105674. ⟨10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105674⟩. ⟨hal-03745753⟩


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