Implementing DSM interventions on water reticulation systems of marginal deep level mines
Van Niekerk, Adriaan Petrus
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Because of a continuous increase in the demand for electricity in South Africa the country’s largest electricity utility (Eskom) has been under strain to provide electricity. An expansion programme to generate more electricity has caused a continuous increase in utility costs. Steep electricity tariff increases have forced large electricity consumers, such as the mining industry, to focus on energy efficiency and demand side management (DSM). More recently, large industrial action has affected the marginality of the mining industry in such a way that mining groups were forced to cut down on production cost and even sell mining shafts. A solution has to be found to improve the marginality of these mines. DSM intervention on mine water reticulation systems has shown great promise in the past and has been implemented on many South African mines with great success. Many mines with smaller systems have not been optimised because the priority of DSM intervention was to achieve the largest saving; therefore, larger systems enjoyed priority over smaller systems. This only added to the increased financial pressure on already marginal mines. In this study the operation of a mine water reticulation system will be studied to identify the most efficient DSM interventions to implement. DSM intervention on dewatering-, refrigeration- and water distribution systems will be investigated to get a better understanding of the functions of these operations. Previous project data will be analysed to create tools that would assist in the decision-making process for DSM intervention regarding saving potential, cost benefit and cost implication. This data would ultimately assist in determining a project’s payback period that is used to prioritise DSM intervention applications. A mining group will be analysed to identify possible DSM intervention potential. The systems will be investigated and the best strategy for DSM intervention will be selected. This study will conclude that it is financially feasible to implement DSM interventions on marginal mines’ dewatering systems.
- Engineering