Content Type:Q&A


We have two mining clients in Montana that we are helping to pursue energy savings opportunities. Can you recommend some resources for them?


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (formerly Office of Industrial Technologies) has a website devoted specifically to energy efficiency in the mining industry. Among the older, but useful, resources under the heading Documents for Historical Reference, is the nine chapter Energy and Environmental Profile of the U.S. Mining Industry (2002)

Two case studies from the Advanced Manufacturing Office are:

  1. Kennecott Utah Copper Retrofits Smelting Applications from Air-Fuel to Oxy-Fuel, Office of Industrial Technologies, August 2001. Upgrading to Dilute Oxygen Combustion (DOC) burners yielded a 55% energy savings and 80% NOx reduction.
  2. Modernization of Electrolysis System at MagCorp Reduces Costs and Waste, Office of Industrial Technologies, August 2001. A project was implemented at this magnesium producing facility to purify the feedstock, reduce labor and energy requirements, and reduce chlorine losses. Process improvements were made to the electrolyzing unit that separates chlorine from magnesium. This yielded a 30% reduction of energy consumption and productivity improvements of 300%.

Also available at the Advanced Manufacturing Office website are Technology Deployment Resources including tools, training and assessment opportunities.

Other Resources:

  1. Energy Use, Loss and Opportunities Analysis: U.S. Manufacturing & Mining, Prepared by Energetics, Incorporated, and E3M, Incorporated, For the U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industrial Technologies Program. December 2004.
  2. Coeur-Rochester Inc. – Silver Mine in Rochester, NV. This mine had an energy savings assessment done in October 2005.that revealed five energy efficiency projects. Projects included resizing and replacing a pump and motor, installing variable speed drives on another pump, capturing waste heat from fallen ore and generating electricity, and upgrading lighting. Implementing all five projects would yield a savings of 11 million kWh per year, or $813,000 per year.
  3. CastCon Process for Mining. Savings through advanced materials, The advanced materials are used to prolong the life of tools used in rock fragmentation that are subjected to severe impact and wear conditions. Performance improvement stems from increased hardness and impact resistance of the cutting materials. Advanced materials can double the useful life of the components, therefore increasing energy efficiency and reducing operating costs.
  4. Mining-Industry of the Future, Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Report. This report was issued by the Industrial Technologies Program in 2004 and is an overview of energy utilization and cost in the U.S mining industry.
  5. Driving Energy Efficiency In The Mining Sector : The Business Case And Beyond : Gaining Management Support And Resources For Energy Efficiency Projects. The Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. 2010.
  6. Mining Industry Energy Bandwidth Study by BCS, Incorporated. June 2007. This bandwidth report was conducted to identify energy-saving opportunities in coals, metals and mineral engineering. The following key mining processes were analyzed: blasting, dewatering, drilling, digging, ventilation, materials handling, crushing, grinding and separations. This report includes a good estimate of overall energy consumption in the Mining Industry, as well as potential energy savings available by implementing 1) Best Practice measures and 2) R&D new technologies. Grinding (esp. metals) was the most energy intensive process by far.
  7. More specifically, Increasing Energy Efficiency of Mine Ventilation Systems. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Your local library should be able obtain these articles for you:

  1. "Identifying opportunities to reduce the consumption of energy across mineral process and recovery plants." Proceeding. CIM Conference and Exhibition - Vancouver 2010. Summary.

  2. Glenn Lyle, Keith Bullock. "Enabling advanced energy management practice for minerals operations. " Proceeding, CIM Conference and Exhibition - Montreal 2011. Summary includes energy consumption statistics.

  3. Henry Smith and Arthur David. "Mine Ventilation: waste heat recovery." CIM Bulletin. v 89 p 126-30 March 1996. Summary.

  4. Trang Tran. "Ventilation-On-Demand Control Systems’ Impact on Energy Savings and Air Quality." Proceeding. CIM Conference and Exhibition - Montreal 2011. Summary.

  5. A.J. Gunson, Bern Klein, Marcello Veiga, Scott Dunbar. "Reducing Mine Water Network Energy Requirements.". Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol 18 Issue 13, Sept 2010, pp. 1328–1338

  6. Jan Vosloo, Leon Liebenberg, Douglas Velleman. "Case Study: Energy Savings for a Deep-Mine Water Reticulation System. ". Applied Energy. Vol 92, April 2012, pp 328-335

  7. "Reducing Energy Consumption on Overland Conveyors," Zamorano, Engineering & Mining Journal, 2009
The focus areas for energy efficiency in R&D are the following:
  1. Extraction
  2. Materials Handling
  3. Beneficiation and Processing
The 2004 highlights in R&D are as follows:

  1. Improved underground communication
  2. Smart screening systems – reducing energy required for screening by 75%
  3. Imaging prior to mining
  4. Real-time measurements while drilling

Finally, I consulted with the Colorado School of Mines Mining Department to inquire of any new emerging technologies they might be aware of that deliver increased mining efficiency. They mentioned advancements in large electric shovels that would reduce power consumption on a per ton basis. They also mentioned that more sophisticated controls are being used to optimize electrical equipment. A large copper company has also been working on a high-angle mag lift system for rock haulage.

As far as a case study, there was a project done at a copper mine in Arizona that increased by-product recovery making the process more efficient and environmentally friendly. The report is Sustainable By-Product Recovery in the Mining Industry, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

If your clients have not already done so, I also suggest they contact the National Mining Association and the Montana Mining Association, of which they may already be members.

Topic: Industries--Mining/Quarries
Sector: Industrial
Content Type: Q&A
ID:  20293