Mining companies are often seen as dinosaurs when it comes to making changes that will benefit the environment, but that perception may be shifting as some companies turn to renewable energy to cut costs and lighten their carbon footprint. At first blush, mining and renewable energy seem incongruous. Mining’s reputation as a voracious consumer of fossil fuels is well deserved, especially surface mining, where diesel-sucking haul trucks perform endless loops to and from gigantic pits scraped ever-deeper by immense earth-moving machines belching greenhouse gases. Contrast that with solar panel installations, with their acres of gleaming panels and gently humming generators, or wind farms, where silent spinning blades crank out megawatts of emissions-free power. But as the cost of diesel fuel and electricity continues to rise, mining companies are searching for ways to cut their energy bill, and renewables are looking increasingly attractive. The main reason is cost. Choosing renewable energy, especially in an industrial setting, used to be cost-prohibitive, but that is starting to change, in some cases dramatically. PV Insider, the company has started building a 5- to 7-megawatt solar park in Free State province, and another 18-MW facility in North West province, with the goal of alleviating pressure on peak energy usage. Over in Tanzania, African Barrick Gold is exploring the possibility of using solar power at its Bulyanhulu mine, press release, the Brazil-based company said it wants to use hydro, wind and biomass to help meet that demand, as well as to diversity its energy mix, reduce emissions and cut costs. As mining companies continue to evaluate their power options in an era of higher diesel fuel and electricity costs, it is interesting to contemplate whether they could one day foresee operating in an environment more weighted towards renewables than conventional energy. While that seems far-fetched now, considering the amount of equipment and plant machinery that relies on conventional power and fuel, the examples cited here show that renewables are already finding increasing currency among the world’s major miners. They also demonstrate that mining companies are not oblivious to broader environmental issues, and are willing to make changes in the direction of renewables, especially if there is a motivation to cut costs.