The mining industry is faced with the effects of a growing energy deficiency as evidenced by the recent approval by Query: NERSA of an Eskom tariff hike exceeding 9%, in addition to energy supply constraints to the mining industry and resulting losses in excess of R1,3 billion, as reported by Consultancy Africa Intelligence.
Mining companies are looking inwards and exploring solutions allowing for independent electricity generation in mitigation of inadequate access to energy – a factor that is ranked as one of the top ten business risks in the mining industry, according to an EY 2015 - 2016 report on business risks facing mining and metals.
The use of captive power plants provides one possible solution and allows for the localised generation of electricity for own use, with such captive power plants operating either in grid mode with the ability to export surplus power to the local electricity distribution network or operating independently of the distribution network.
Captive power plants provide mining companies with the autonomy to better manage their overall cost base and minimise the costs of energy, which represent up to 40% of a mining company’s total expenditure.
Source: SABC News