The prolonged downturn in minerals and metals commodity prices and the generally sluggish outlook for the mining industry are having a profound effect on how keen mining companies are to move from study to adoption of renewable energy, says Rob Lydan, former global director for solar and wind renewable power at Hatch in Mississauga, Ontario. “The commodity outlook is the oxygen that the mining business breathes,” he explains.
Until commodity prices start to rebound out of their current slump, Lydan is convinced that most mining companies will proceed cautiously toward adopting solar PV, wind, or other alternative forms of energy within their operations. “At the top of the boom, people’s sole interest is how much more they can get out of the ground and how fast they can process it,” he says. “During a bust, their singular priority is avoiding cost. Commodity prices are the beginning and ending of this business.”