Embracing renewable energy

Sitting on a plateau 600 metres high on the Ungava Peninsula in northern Quebec, Glencore’s Raglan Mine is well situated to take advantage of the power of wind. In 2014, the company did exactly that when it completed its construction of a 120-metre high wind turbine and storage facility, the largest in Quebec.

Like most other northern mines, the off-grid Raglan Mine was heavily dependent on diesel to fuel its operations. With climate change considerations, commitments to limit environmental impacts and rising diesel costs, there was a strong business case for Glencore to explore renewable energy solutions. With the mine situated in the Canadian Arctic, which harbours some of the world’s richest wind resource, Glencore set out to diversify its energy mix with wind as a means of improving sustainability, reducing emissions and cutting costs. The project was unprecedented in scale, and was specially designed for severe Arctic climate conditions.

Acting as a robust duo, together the two wind turbines are forecasted to produce about 10% of the mine’s total energy, save approximately 4.4 million litres of diesel fuel annually, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 12,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 2,700 vehicles off the road.

©Glencore - Each turbine allows savings of over 3,600 tons of CO2 annually and requires about 2,000 kg of nickel
©Glencore - Each turbine allows savings of over 3,600 tons of CO2 annually and requires about 2,000 kg of nickel

Raglan Mine’s facilities are not connected to the hydroelectric or natural gas networks, so the mine must produce its own electricity using diesel fuel. Over the last few years, Raglan Mine has begun to explore different options that would enable it to reduce its dependence on fossil energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The mine wanted to incorporate green energy into its power generation portfolio in a gradual way and after years of careful study on the potential of wind power, it became clear that this would be an excellent solution for Raglan Mine.

In August of 2014, the first step in Raglan Mine’s plan was executed with the erection of one wind turbine on site. It has become a flagship site for industrial-scale wind power development in the region and successfully demonstrates that by harvesting wind energy, significant improvements can be made in long-term economic stability, energy security, greenhouse gas emissions and the overall environmental footprint of mining operations in the northern part of Canada.

Once Raglan Mine’s first wind turbine was up and fully functional, the second step in the process was just as critical as the first: integrate an energy storage system with the existing energy network. This was required in order to maximize the energy penetration from the wind turbine, which took time but was completed in 2015.

And in 2018, Raglan Mine’s installation of its second wind turbine was completed.

Together, the two wind turbines produce about 10% of Raglan Mine's total energy consumption - representing an annual saving of about 4.4 million liters of diesel fuel.

The wind turbines installed at Raglan Mine have successfully proved that there is a way to cultivate and use renewable forms of energy in the North. Since 2014, Raglan Mine’s first wind turbine and its associated storage facility have saved 7.5 million litres of diesel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 21 kilotonnes. 


Raglan Mine is considering installing additional wind turbines that could generate a total of 9 to 12 megawatts of energy, slashing the mine’s overall diesel consumption by 40%.

Poised to pave the way for other such projects to adopt greener energy alternatives, it may just be that Raglan Mine’s wind turbines create a ripple effect that results in profound, transformational impacts on the way energy is produced and used throughout Northern Canada. Recognizing the potential of the project, the Mining Association of Canada awarded Glencore and Raglan Mine with a TSM Environmental Excellence Award in 2016.

Did you know?

Nickel contributes to the success.

In each wind turbine, about 2,000 kgs of nickel are used. Applications relying on nickel in the nacelle area include bearings, shafts, gears and hydraulic components, and in other areas for fasteners, control cabinet housings and many other components.

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