Alternative energy supplies and efficient energy use in the mining industry marked the Enermin seminar programme

Diverse companies from the mining industry shared experiences and innovative projects that have led to better energy management.

In the wake of high costs and increasing uncertainty about energy supply, more than 150 professionals from 10 countries came together to evaluate and share alternatives for managing the resource at the 2nd International Seminar on Energy Management in the Mining Industry, ENERMIN 2012, in Salvador, Brasil.

Over three days participants analysed energy supply alternatives in mining projects, they reviewed the best practices and new technologies that allow for long-term efficient energy use in all processes. They also discussed the best ways in which to implement new energy management systems.

In the inaugural ceremony, David Way, Operations Manager at JKTech, Australia and ENERMIN vice-president, illustrated how energy use can be reduced up to 50% during mineral processing. To achieve this, Way said it was necessary to pre-concentrate the minerals, eliminating early on much of the material to be processed.

Meanwhile, Joaquín Villarino, President of the Chilean Mining Council, highlighted the importance of the mining industry in the national economy and stated that the rising costs and current limitations in generating and distributing electricity are key factors in slowing or even stopping development in the sector. Villarino stressed that in Chile’s case, a social and political census surrounding the energy issue is required to ensure the growth of the mining industry and of the country as a whole.
Additionally, José Sergio Gabrielli, Secretary for Planning of the State of Bahia, called special attention to the recent plan driven by the President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, who announced a tax cut in the energy sector which will reduce taxes between 16.2 and 28%; welcomed news for the Brazilian mining sector.

Among ENERMIN’s plenary talks was a presentation by Andrés Alonso, Energy and Water Resources Manager of Codelco, Chile and vice president of ENERMIN, who explained some of the actions taken by the company to improve energy supply. Two ways of doing this include pushing the use of renewable energy and efficient resource management.

Cesar Abreu, General Manager in Bioenergy-Biodiesel at Vale, Brazil, presented an ambitious programme developed by Vale in Brazil to bring the rate of 5% biofuels (currently required in Brazil) to 20% for all transport fleets. This programme would be the afforestation of 80,000 hectares, allowing for the recovery of degraded land and the construction of a biodiesel plant. Biodiesel production will begin in 2015.

The seminar, organised by Gecamin, JKTech Australia, and IBRAM, consisted of high-quality technical presentations and the exhibition of renowned specialists from Canada, Australia, Chile, and Brazil, allowing the participants to learn about and share experiences surrounding one of the major challenges for the future of the mining industry- energy.