Holistic analysis of the effect on electricity cost in South Africa’s platinum mines when varying shift schedules according to time-of-use tariffs

Keywords: schedule adjustment, time-of-use, cost reduction, deep-level mine, integrated load management

Abstract

In the past the cost of electricity was not a significant concern and was not common practice for mining companies to consider peak time-of-use (TOU) tariffs for their shift schedules. It has become more prevalent, as TOU tariffs continue increasing, to consider energy saving important. A study was carried out to analyse the mining operation of a South African deep-level platinum mine in respect of integrated load management, shift changes and TOU schedules. This was achieved by thoroughly analysing energy consumers, mine operational schedules and their interconnectedness. A specific mining system was analysed as a case study and a maximum savings scenario was determined, using the methodology formulated. The maximum savings scenario schedule change resulted in a 1.3% cost reduction. System improvements had an additional potential reduction effect of 8.4%, which was primarily the result of a reduction in compressors’ power consumption. The implications of the proposed schedule adjustments necessitated a realistic scenario. The realistic scenario had an effective financial reduction of 0.7%. The realistic schedule change, however, opened the door for large system operational improvements, which could increase the reduction potential by 7.6%. The study methods described illustrate the potential implications of integrated load management and operational schedule optimisation on the power demand and cost savings in the mining industry, specifically focusing on deep-level platinum mines.

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2019-12-05