Improved implementation strategies to sustain energy saving measures on mine cooling systems
Reliable, efficient and cost-effective energy supply is crucial for economic and social development. Mining and industrial sectors consumed close to 37% of the total energy produced in the world during 2013. The South African power network is strained by the rapid expansion of mining, industrial and public sectors. Generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy are in progress, but supply will not meet demand in the near future. The South African electricity supplier needs capital for expansion. Electricity price increases have been significantly higher than increases in the gold price over the last few years. Mining companies are under pressure from government to improve their labour relations. They are obligated to spend money on local infrastructure development. Therefore, cost efficiency receives higher priority than ever before and requires an implementation strategy. Cooling systems on mines proved to be significant electricity consumers. These systems lack integrated management and efficient and optimised control. Electricity demand can be reduced through implementation of energy saving measures on these cooling systems. Energy saving measures reduce the operational costs of mining to ensure that mines stay globally competitive. The identification of long-term challenges for energy saving measures is crucial. Successful implementation of energy saving measures results in improved utilisation and performance of mine cooling systems. These measures must be maintained to ensure a constant positive impact on reduced electrical energy consumption. The electrical energy savings are dependent on external factors, such as ambient conditions. Improved implementation strategies of energy saving measures will prevent deterioration of utilisation and performance of the mine cooling systems. Monitoring and reporting of key performance indicators are crucial. Lack of integrated maintenance can lead to lost opportunities and the deterioration of equipment and machines. The improved implementation strategies in two separate case studies proved sustainable savings of 1.73 MW and 0.66 MW respectively. The electricity cost savings for Mine A and Mine B are R8.8 million and R2.9 million respectively. These savings have been sustained for periods of seventeen and seven months respectively, indicating the value of the study.
- Engineering