HomeTop StoriesExploring synergies between the power and mining sectors

Exploring synergies between the power and mining sectors

The mining sector is responsible for 18% of South Africa’s total power consumption, and finding ways to conserve energy costs is becoming an increasingly urgent priority for mine mangers, particularly in light of Eskom’s recently proposed price hikes of 45% every year for the next three years.  

A number of mines have already turned to onsite power generation to reduce costs and ensure security of energy supply, and this number is bound to increase, particularly among coal mines, which are benefitting from recent advances in underground coal gasification technologies. With increasing pressure to cut down on carbon emissions, mines are also starting to look at Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects.

Gold mining company Gold Fields is pursuing a number of projects that fall within the energy efficiency CDM methodology.  These projects are located at the company’s different mining operations in South Africa, namely Driefontein, Kloof and the South Deep gold mines.

According to Jan du Plessis, Senior Consultant: Occupational Environment and Hygiene, Gold Fields is focusing on the energy efficiency of production through the efficient use of resources and the replacement of energy inefficient equipment. The company also has a strong sustainable development culture, which du Plessis says  forms an integral part of their strategy to improve the environment through the better use of resources. Du Plessis will be one of speakers at the Mine-Tech International Conference and Expo early next month, where he will highlight opportunities for methane offset projects in the mining industry.

Optimal Demand-Side-Management of power use is also becoming an increasing priority for mine managers and energy engineers. Keith Arnold, Energy Engineer at AngloGold Ashanti, will be addressing Demand-Side-Management for mines during an early morning smart session at the Mine-Tech Conference. This session will take the form of roundtable discussions between mine managers, energy engineers and other interested parties, who will discuss best practice for Demand-Side-Management. AngloGold Ashanti has been at the forefront of investigating innovative ways to increase energy efficiency of its mining methods and employ different technologies to deal with Eskom’s restricted capacity.

As the demand for energy increases, more and more mines will be looking to form partnerships with solution providers specialising in energy-efficient technologies, and there is great potential for collaboration on onsite and co-generation projects. The Mine-Tech International Conference and Expo, which will be held from 2-4 November, provides the ideal forum for mining houses and stakeholders in the energy sector to explore potential synergies. For more information on this event visit the Mine-Tech website: www.minetechexpo.com, or contact Piera Abbott: piera.abbott@miningreview.com

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