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Case study

EnergyFlex helps copper miner pioneer sustainable energy solutions

Copper mine, australia

KEY METRICS

~$5M

Annual energy savings

124,000t

Annual CO² reduction

A large Australian copper mining company faced a unique set of challenges in its commitment to sustainability.
Due to its remote operations, the mine relies on long-distance dedicated energy transmission to meet its massive energy requirements, which directly influences the state’s energy market and landscape. The remote location also made meeting deeply held and published sustainability and decarbonisation goals difficult – for both the company and the state.

The canary in the copper mine

In an effort to reduce direct (Scope 1) emissions, the mine was working to replace diesel-powered haul trucks with electric lift mechanism alternatives. But this could place an additional burden on the power grid and would potentially increase the state’s overall emissions due to the inefficiencies and resulting energy loss in long transmission lines.

Moreover, the rising cost of energy, partly due to the integration and firming of renewables and the need for consistent, reliable power, directly affected the cost of producing copper. With copper being vital for the energy transition, escalating production costs threaten both the mine’s profitability and broader energy transition efforts.

‘By improving operational flexibility, the mine could facilitate local power generation, cutting transmission and energy costs by approximately $200,000 and significantly reducing emissions.’

Solving the energy puzzles

To tackle these challenges, the company conducted a comprehensive assessment using EnergyFlex, focusing on the operational efficiency of individual elements in its production chain. The project analysed two years’ of data, with a particular focus on the past 12 months.

This included:

Analysing

the operational flexibility, power usage, and process storage before and after each production step.

Understanding

the full Energy Asset Value of the mining operation; and exploring the potential for enhancing the grinding process with a new flexible dry milling process.

Identifying

opportunities for increased flexibility with particular focus on the ore crusher, water treatment, and accommodation facilities through control system adjustments.

Investigating

conversion of diesel backup generators to Carnot engines running on biodiesel, balancing increased fuel costs with improved efficiency for a carbon and cost-neutral backup solution.

Copper-bottomed outcomes

By unlocking the energy asset value through improving operational flexibility, the mine could facilitate local power generation, cutting transmission and energy costs by approximately $200,000 and significantly reducing emissions.

This approach not only supports the miner’s commitment to sustainable practices but also contributes to the state’s wider efforts in energy transition and environmental stewardship.

Inspired by this business’ success? Join EnergyFlex today.