Tips for Reducing Energy Consumption in the Mining Industry

August 24, 2015 By Karen Henry

coal mine Energy ManageElectricity accounts for 32 percent of a mine’s total energy use, so finding ways to reduce energy use can result in significant savings for mining companies. Grinding and ventilation offer the greatest potential for reducing energy use in the coal mining industry, according to an article on the World Coal website.

In addition to savings achieved through improvements in equipment efficiencies, the article outlines a number of strategies and technologies that can be used to further reduce electricity use:

  • Create a strategic plan. Creating a plan will not only help the mine achieve long-term results, it will also provide a base upon which to consistently evaluate and fine-tune actions against planned objectives.
  • Choose an energy management strategy that will achieve the best results. A passive energy management strategy leverages systems that are designed to use less energy. An active energy management strategy relies on deploying and monitoring motor controls, ventilation controls or process optimization to achieve the best results.
  • Choose an energy management system (EMS) that is tied directly to mine production systems. In addition to providing data about real-time energy consumption, this type of EMS is also able to identify and quantify consumption that exceeds targets, identify and analyze the cause of over-consumption, analyze elements that are driving energy consumption, calculate key performance indicators, provide validated data to justify future capital investments, and create reports and energy models to forecast energy consumption and determine energy targets.
  • Invest in smart meters. Smart meters deliver rich information about energy use from critical mine loads.
  • Use smart mining breakers to obtain actionable energy data. In addition to their typical protection capabilities and robustness for harsh coal mine environments, these breakers deliver energy information thanks to integrated meters.
  • Monitor power quality and reliability. Sophisticated power quality monitoring and reporting provides the information needed to validate compliance, improve system stability and minimize unplanned downtime.

It’s also important to choose a trusted engineering partner with proven energy consulting experience. Integrating the right tactics with the right partner can help optimize energy consumption throughout the mine’s lifecycle.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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