In the mining industry, there are no days off for operations. Most mines operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without exceptions for holidays or inclement weather. With established business plans made public, a mine’s production and revenue targets are built around this continual operations assumption, and nearby communities benefit from the presence of a consistent source of work for residents.
Access to clean, reliable and redundant power is critical to achieving continual and long-lasting mining operations. Mines require robust and durable power systems, sometimes greater than what the local power supply can manage. Often, mines are built in remote areas or developing countries where the grid may not be sufficient for that load. This can be a significant catalyst for improvements or modifications to the grid to maintain steady operations and minimize downtime.
Planning for the Future
Modifications to the mine may also need to be made so that the mine conforms to relevant standards, such as the International Mine Action Standards. To remain in compliance, mechanical and power systems in process facilities are often designed with bypasses and built-in redundancy. This enables zoned maintenance activities to isolate issues in the event of an equipment failure. An engineering team with integrated energy specialists can provide innovative equipment and system solutions such as voltage, current and frequency line monitoring solutions, automatic transfer switches or implementation of a fast bus transfer system to quickly resolve and prevent issues.
For existing mines, failure risks must be evaluated. Existing power supplies should undergo a thorough audit. These inputs can inform a comprehensive plan to identify the most cost-efficient solution to keep the mine in operation, eliminate safety risks and improve energy efficiency. By identifying potential points of failure, mine operators can make more informed decisions to avoid a total plant shutdown and determine project priorities and capital and operational budget allocations.
Reinforcing Existing Systems
True redundancy is achieved in phases, often over five to 10 years, to shift the budget and resource burden. Most mine initiatives are brownfield projects, meaning a team is implementing adjustments to an existing operation — often creating redundancy, strengthening a mine’s power supply and marrying existing infrastructure with newer technologies. Often equipment can only be taken out of service during limited windows.
An integrated team can help mining companies through every phase of design, construction, expansion and optimization of critical power systems. By establishing sufficient resilient power to maintain constant operations, mines can achieve production targets, promote an environment of safety and stay in compliance with environmental regulations.
Incorporating a seamless project approach is easier when real-time data is used to make informed decisions. Harness the power of having an integrated team and comprehensive information to promote cost-efficient mining operations.