Established in 1989, Centennial Coal is a mining and marketing company supplying thermal and coking coal to local and export markets. With seven operating coalmines in New South Wales, it is one of that state’s largest underground coal producers and major fuel supplier to the domestic-energy industry. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Banpu Public Company, and committed to becoming an industry-leading, sustainable coal producer and supplier.
The 2007 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) and introduction of a carbon tax in 2012 profoundly impacted the Australian mineral resources sector. Faced with major environmental and bottom-line challenges, Centennial Coal needed to ensure accurate emissions reporting by integrating underground greenhouse gas measurement data with its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. It also wanted to streamline compliance auditing, minimize its carbon footprint, and increase energy efficiency to offset carbon liability.
In May 2012, Centennial Coal implemented a sustainability-performance-management platform based on Oracle Database and Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition. The platform provides role-based dashboards for sustainable development, engineers, finance, auditors and senior management. With Oracle technology, Centennial Coal streamlined its data collation for emissions reporting, increased transparency in the auditing process, avoided US$468,000 in billing errors, and improved returns by up to 20% on certain energy-efficiency improvement initiatives. Centennial Coal also won an Oracle Excellence Award for Eco-Enterprise Innovation in September 2013.
As part of its clean energy legislation, the Government of Australia taxes mining companies for fugitive gas emissions—primarily methane gas released during the coal extraction process. Mining companies, such as Centennial Coal, need to account and report the fugitive gas emissions and associated carbon liability annually under the requirements of the NGER Act. It was critical that senior management ensure reporting accuracy and efficiency to eliminate the risk of hefty penalties for erroneous reporting.
Each mine manually collected emissions data from different sources, such as coal production reports, electricity bills, diesel bills, and ventilation-officer reports, and sent the spreadsheets to the head office for consolidation. By integrating its ERP system with the Oracle-based sustainability-performance-management platform, Centennial Coal automated data collation and validation of the emissions data received from electricity meters, electronic invoices, and fugitive emissions abatement sensors, as well as ERP data for coal production and fossil fuel consumption on a daily and monthly basis. The increased flexibility of the sustainability-performance-management platform produced a US$279,000 carbon tax reduction and improved reporting efficiency.
Centennial Coal eliminated human error and accelerated emissions reporting. It also increased management confidence in data accuracy and minimized the risk of heavy fines. The company expects to achieve even greater automation in the next annual reporting period, which will also include integration of further emissions data for waste and recycling into the sustainability-performance-management platform.
Centennial Coal needed to report its fugitive gas emissions and associated carbon liability in the annual, emissions-compliance report, which required an official audit.
Using Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition provides an interactive dashboard for auditors to easily trace the sources for emission numbers and verify the calculation of carbon liability in line with greenhouse gas accounting standards. Auditors no longer needed to ask various stakeholders, such as ventilation officers, engineers, or mine accountants, to verify the numbers derived from different sources, such as electricity bills or diesel bills and instead can concentrate on evaluating information. This significantly streamlines the auditing process and eliminates the risk of error, enabling Centennial Coal to gain maximum benefits from the auditing process.
“With an integrated carbon-management platform, auditors have emissions data at their finger tips, greatly enhancing audit transparency. We’ve also gained the ability to verify and identify electricity-billing errors, enabling us to recover more than US$468,000 in energy costs,” said Donna Dryden, general manager, sustainable development, Centennial Coal.
Coal mining is an energy-intensive industry, consuming vast quantities of electricity and diesel in the extraction process. The introduction of a fixed carbon tax of US$21 per ton of carbon dioxide, coupled with rising electricity prices, presented Centennial Coal with a significant challenge. The company was eager to identify ways to mitigate its carbon liability and reduce electricity consumption.
Using Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition’s role-based dashboard capability, Centennial Coal’s senior managers have gained better insight into aggregate and forecast emissions and associated carbon liability to better formulate mitigation strategies. For example, engineers tasked with reducing coal-extraction energy costs can now drill down into fossil fuel consumption data and identify measures, such as modifying the energy infrastructure, to reduce emissions and energy consumption.
“Oracle Business Intelligence’s modeling capability enabled us to perform cost-benefit analysis and monitor the effectiveness of energy-efficiency projects through direct carbon abatement measures. In the year since adopting the platform, we’ve made valuable energy-efficiency gains supported by a 20% government rebate on electricity costs,” Dryden said.
Centennial Coal chose Oracle technology because of its robust dashboard capabilities and drill-down features, enabling the company to mitigate its carbon-tax liability and meet its sustainability goals.
“By using Oracle technology, we were confident of achieving greater transparency in our auditing process and support for our innovative carbon-mitigation projects. We can ensure our reports are accurate and meet NGER-compliance-reporting requirements, eliminating the risk of heavy penalties,” Dryden said.
Centennial Coal began implementing its Oracle-based sustainability-performance-management platform across its portfolio of mines. This involved migrating historical spreadsheet data to the newly consolidated reporting platform and customizing role-based dashboards for stakeholders, including senior managers, engineers, finance team members, and auditors. The company is now working to integrate data from third-party systems, including waste, recycling, and fleet vehicle systems. It expects to substantially streamline 98% of data collation before the next annual reporting period.
Oracle partner Knowledge Global Pty. Ltd. developed the sustainability-performance-management platform based on Oracle technology, and it worked with Centennial Coal to implement this in each of its mines. Knowledge Global provided support for data migration and designed role-based dashboards for stakeholders.
“With Knowledge Global’s expertise in sustainability analytics and Oracle’s dashboard capabilities, we’ve achieved greater transparency and efficiency in our compliance reporting. We’ve also gained confidence in the reliablity of our reporting, which is a huge benefit for us,” Dryden said.