New wind turbines at Lommel demonstrate Sibelco’s commitment to sustainable operations

Four giant wind turbines are now up and running at Sibelco’s silica sand operation in Lommel, Belgium. 

The 155-metre-high structures will collectively generate around 28,000 MWh of energy each year. That’s equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 7,000 family homes. The turbines, installed and operated in association with EDF Luminus, will slash carbon emissions by 21,000 tonnes per year.

Investment in the project demonstrates Sibelco’s firm commitment to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in line with the EU’s Green Deal targets for 2030. Although the global minerals industry accounts for less than 0.5% of total CO2 emissions, Sibelco believes that all industries have a role to play in achieving targeted reductions to limit the extent of global warming.

A Sustainable Mining Operation

Lommel is one of Sibelco’s largest silica sand operations, extracting and processing over one million tonnes of premium-quality material each year since 1984 for customers in the glass, chemical, construction and foundry industries.

Around 75% of the energy used to power Lommel’s plant now comes from renewable sources. The new wind turbines boost supplies already generated by a 6-hectare solar park which sits on top of land remediated by Sibelco. The solar park opened in 2009 and has a peak capacity of 3 megawatts.

Sand at Lommel is extracted by dredging before being pumped through pipelines to the plant where it is sieved and double graded to ensure optimal grain size distribution. To achieve humidity levels below 5%, the sand is dewatered on filter belts then sent to silos for natural drainage. Some sand is further treated at our drying installation in line with customer specifications. Water used in the process is purified on site and circulated back to the nearby quarries. End products are transported to customers via rail, ship or truck.

Carefully planned reconstruction of mined areas has already started at Lommel. When operations eventually end, the whole site will have been transformed into a magnificent natural habitat in synergy with the local area.

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