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QLD’s biggest zinc refinery joins RE100 – Sun Metals commits to use 100% renewable electricity

23 November 2020, 9:45 GMT 4 min read

  • Sun Metals Corporation is the second largest single site consumer of electricity in Queensland.
  • Company commits to powering its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2040 (80% by 2030).
  • RE100’s 269 members now use more electricity than Australia – all are going 100% renewable with their electricity use.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020:  Sun Metals Corporation (Sun Metals), a wholly owned subsidiary of Korea Zinc Company Limited, and the operator of Queensland’s biggest zinc refinery, has joined the global RE100 initiative and committed to power its entire operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2040.

RE100 is led by international non-profit the Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The members of RE100 are major global businesses that have committed to use 100% renewable electricity.

The move makes Sun Metals the first major refinery in the world to join RE100.   It is the second largest single site consumer of electricity in Queensland – and next year expects to use 1,100GWh/yr of electricity.

Sun Metals was the first major energy user in Australia to build its own large-scale solar farm. In 2018, its $200 million 125MW solar farm was built to lower costs and underpin the expansion of its zinc refinery, south of Townsville. 

The solar farm provides 22% of the refinery’s electricity. From 2021, this solar farm is expected to generate more than 240GWh/yr. 

As part of its renewables transition, Sun Metals is currently considering the purchase of wind assets in Queensland. This could deliver a combined wind and solar portfolio that would bring the business close to 90% renewable electricity.

This will leave a small gap that will be filled by other technologies such as batteries, biogas and hydrogen.

Sun Metals Corporation has future investment plans in green hydrogen (hydrogen produced with renewable energy). Its road map to this goal involves producing green hydrogen, using that energy to replace diesel, and then finally exporting energy in the form of green hydrogen into the global market. To facilitate this roadmap, Sun Metals recently secured a $5 million grant from the Queensland government to develop one of north Queensland’s first renewable hydrogen production facilities.

Sun Metals CEO, Kiwon Park, said: 

“At Sun Metals, we’re proud to join RE100 and make this commitment to powering our operations with 100% renewable electricity.” 

“We have already started our renewables journey. As the first major energy user in Australia to build its own large scale solar farm, we’re already getting 22% of our electricity from solar and based upon our development pipeline we will easily achieve 100% renewable by 2040.”

"We would encourage all major smelters and refineries in Australia to consider joining RE100. The more we all move towards 100% renewable, the more we can save money and create a cleaner future for Australia’s industry and the environment “  

RE100 Australian Coordinator Jon Dee, said:

“We’re delighted that Sun Metals is joining RE100. As Queensland’s largest zinc refinery, they are setting a positive example for Australia’s other industrial energy users.”

“Now that Sun Metals is going 100% renewable, we’re hoping that every smelter and refinery in Australia will follow suit and do the same.”

“Sun Metals is joining a group of businesses that are creating real and measurable change. That’s because all 269 global members of RE100 are switching over to 100% renewable electricity.” 

"Given that our members now use more electricity than Australia, if RE100’s member companies can go 100% renewable, there’s no reason why Australia can’t do the same. We would strongly encourage Australia’s corporate sector to join RE100 and help bring that about.”

RE100 Member Numbers and Stats

  • In Australia, 15 Australian companies with a combined market capitalisation of $470 billion have now joined RE100. All of these companies are switching to 100% renewable electricity by a set date.
  • The 15 Australian members of RE100 include: Woolworths Group, Westpac, Sun Metals, Suncorp, QBE, NAB, Mirvac, Macquarie, Interactive, Dexus, Commonwealth bank, BINGO Industries, Bank Australia, Atlassian and ANZ. 
  • Globally, there are now 269 members of RE100. Over 70 of these international companies have operations in Australia.
  • The combined global energy use of RE100 members is 284TWh/yr. 
  • If RE100 members were a country, in terms of annual electricity consumption it would be the 15th largest country in the world: that’s ahead of Iran (273.3TWh/yr) and Australia (247.7 TWh/yr) but below Mexico (290.1TWh/yr).[1]  

For more information, please contact Jon Dee: 0414 971 900 or RE100@DoSomething.net.au

Or contact Sun Metals: Jeff Popp at 0438 153 857

[1] This data is from the IEA 2020 report: https://webstore.iea.org/download/direct/4093?fileName=Key_World_Energy…

Notes

Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd

Sun Metals Corporation Pty Ltd is an Australian subsidiary of Korea Zinc Company Limited. Its Zinc Refinery is located 15km south of the city of Townsville in North Queensland, Australia. Korea Zinc group is the largest base metals and precious metals producer in the world, who is considered to have the most advanced technologies of metals refining.

As Queensland’s biggest zinc refinery, Sun Metals produce a Special High-Grade Zinc. In 2018, Sun Metals completed the largest (125MW) integrated industrial used solar plant in Australia. This solar farm generates 22% of the electricity used by Sun Metals. 

Sun Metals is committed to the community and is a strong contributor to the local economy. It employs over 350 staff and contractors, primarily from the local community.  

RE100

RE100 is a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power. Led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP, the group have a total revenue of over US$6.6 trillion and operate in a diverse range of sectors. Together, they send a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transition to a clean economy. 

In Australia, the RE100 initiative is run on behalf of the Climate Group and CDP by the DoSomething Foundation and its co-Founder Jon Dee (the Australian of the Year for 2010 in NSW).

A full list of RE100’s members can be found here.