Enabling advanced energy management practice for minerals operations

CIM Montreal 2011
Glenn Lyle, Keith Bullock,
Abstract Measures taken by mining companies around the
world to reduce their carbon footprints
are becoming increasingly important in the sector
securing its social licence to operate.
The options for measures reduce to three
categories of activity: i) demand reduction by
avoiding unnecessary waste of supplied energy, ii)
improving the utilization of energy
that does have to be consumed and iii) adopting
low carbon energy production options—
including renewable energy. As well as the
environmental imperative, as the prices of
electricity, gas and liquid fuels increase, so the
economic case for activities i) to iii) gains
higher priority, especially in such an energy
intensive industry. The specific energy
consumption for certain upstream minerals industry
operations in Canada is reported to
be as follows: underground mining: 99.5 kWh/tonne
mined; surface mining: 11.7
kWh/tonne mined; base metal processing: 81.4
kWh/tonne milled; gold processing: 99.6
kWh/tonne milled. Around 508 kWh/tonne (slag) of
heat is reported to be available in
cooling slag from 1500°C to 25°C; an amount that
is simply indicative of the energy
intensity of downstream smelting and refining
operations.
Low carbon, energy saving technology options that
are available to mining industry
companies lead to projects with return rates that
must compete alongside other capital
intensive projects considered by mining company
boards. Energy projects frequently
involve longer payback periods and lower rates of
return than those of competing bids for
capital, such as those for development of new
mineral properties. For energy services
companies (ESCOs) that specialize in the
financing, construction, and the efficient
operation and maintenance of energy projects, the
same returns and payback periods may
be considered acceptable or even attractive. For
the ESCO, the key commercial risk
mitigating factor is a securing a long term
contract for the supply of energy.
Keywords: Energy management, Mining
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