Proactive energy planning leads to long-term savings

Exploring opportunities to reduce energy costs on mine sites will be a key discussion topic at the Future Energy and Finance conference in Melbourne later this year.

Energetics’ Mining Sector Lead, Mr Louis Kent, will be presenting at the conference and says the mining industry could realise significant cost savings if greater recognition is placed on implementing energy efficiency strategies on mine sites and negotiating the best energy supply contract.

“Energy use in mines typically accounts for, on average, between 10-20 per cent of overall operating costs and typically savings in the order of 5 per cent of total energy use are readily, and cost effectively, achievable,” said Mr Kent.

“However these strategies are often shelved by miners as the cost savings are not seen as being substantial enough.

“Proving that the benefits of these cost savings extend well beyond an initial cash back is the biggest challenge facing energy efficiency uptake in the sector.

“All too often those evaluating energy projects overlook the associated productivity gains that are realised when strategies are put in place, including reduced labour, maintenance and capital expenditure costs.

“And there are other opportunities to maximise energy cost reductions that are often not considered, like driving efficiencies in energy site reticulation systems and negotiating the terms and changes in energy contracts.

“While site reticulation systems are typically well designed initially, over time equipment is added and removed.

“This can result in very poor power factor performance for the site.

“The other key thing to think about is whether you are on the best energy supply contract.

“For grid connected miners, the cost of electricity is seldom only the cost of using electrons, so there are opportunities to negotiate better deals.”

For the first time, the Future Energy and Finance program will be a full-day feature at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), which will not only look at the potential benefits of alternative energy sources for mining but will also identify potential investment opportunities within the energy space.

IMARC 2016 will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 7–10 November.

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