Using Wind To Mine For Lower Costs

What drives a business to go green? Well, a Las Vegas-based mining company thinks using wind to power its operations in Bolivia will give it a cost advantage over competitors, while also “opening doors to potential partners and clients who are particularly interested in conducting business with others who operate with consideration to their environmental footprint.”

Franklin Mining put out word that it plans to use wind power at its Escala property in Bolivia, which, according to the company’s website, “consists of a series of vertically oriented lead-zinc-silver base metal veins” that after mining and processing yield lead-silver and zinc-silver concentrates. How big would the wind power system be? No word on that. What’s the mine’s current energy source? Not said.

mining with wind power, Franklin Mining

image via Shutterstock

Franklin did say it was turning to Coastal Point Energy to install the wind power. It was hard to track down a great deal of information about this company. On its sparsely populated, under-construction website, Coastal Point talks about a planned giant wind farm in the Gulf of Mexico and says it “is slated to begin full-scale construction and deployment of the project in 2009.” Offshore Wind Wire reported earlier this year that the project, while obviously behind schedule, remains active.

No timetable was given on the Bolivia mine project, but Franklin CEO William Petty said in a statement that his company is “passionate about being as environmentally responsible in our operations as we possibly can,” and that his expectation is that the savings accruing from wind, whenever they come, “will be notable.”

The question is – can a mining operation, even one powered by wind, ever really be green enough?

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Simon Mahan

    It’s not as if the planet will stop mining anytime soon – even materials from wind turbines need to be mined. Using wind energy is certainly better than the alternatives.

  • tater salad

    Coastal Point Energy is a sham company run by a person of questionable character.u00a0 When Franklin mining digs deeper (no pun intended) they will drop CPE like a hot rock.u00a0 If they use CPE it will be a disaster.u00a0 Check back in 6 – 12 months and see how that relationship is progressing.