Energy Saving Opportunities In the Minerals Industry

CIM Montreal 2007
Abstract This paper reports on new technologies and methods available to help reduce energy consumption in minerals plants. A particular case study is used to highlight these opportunities, where an energy efficiency review at Tanami, a remote Newmont Gold processing plant located in central Australia, illustrated a considerable energy saving potential. All power requirements at the Tanami operation are currently supplied by diesel, which amounts to power costs of over two million Australian dollars a month. This energy scenario is not unusual in the minerals industry, and with such high power costs energy savings have the potential to reduce operating expenses significantly.

The paper discusses typical minerals industry energy management practices and how they relate to other industry sectors. Energy efficiency improvement opportunities are described along with the challenges associated with their implementation in a continuously operating industrial environment. Untapped energy sources available in a typical minerals processing plant are presented. The paper also discusses the challenges involved in implementing energy saving schemes such as:

§ New energy saving technologies becoming available to the industry sector.
§ Initial set up or construction costs of energy saving technology.
§ Allocation of responsibility for initial set up or construction costs of energy saving technology.
§ Effect of new technology on maintenance efforts and related ongoing costs.
§ How accounting methodology can influence investment in energy saving projects.
§ The minimisation of investment risks when introducing energy saving technologies.
Keywords: Efficiency, Waste Heat, absorption chiller, Energy, renewable energy
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