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Four 60-second interviews – Understand the mine energy challenges in Chile

Four 60-second interviews – Understand the mine energy challenges in Chile
February 24
11:35 2015

In the run up to the Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition, March 6-7 Santiago Chile, Energy and Mines has interviewed a number of key speakers to provide some insight in to the motivations and drivers for the use of renewables in Chilean mines.

Gonzalo Araujo, SCM Minera Lumina Copper Chile Lumina Copper - Gonzalo Araujo

  • What are the main challenges related to powering your mining operations?

Our supply is currently contracted with ENDESA through a 220 KV line that connects to the SE Maitencillo from the SIC. The ERNC offer us opportunities to reduce the consumption (energy efficiency), our carbon footprint and our costs.

 

  • How are you addressing these challenges?

We are currently carrying out an audit about energy efficiency that helps us to identify and evaluate opportunities in order to generate a management plan of energy in accordance with the Agreement between Consejo Minero and the Energy Minister.

 

  • Which technologies or solutions are you interested in hearing about?

The renewable technologies that we have identified till now are all related to solar energy

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Ignacio Arteaga, Arteaga Gorziglia & Cía. Ltda.ignacio Arteaga

  • What are the main barriers to the further deployment of renewables by the mining industry?

The main challenge that mines are actually facing is the lack of availability of electricity at competitive costs, considering the proportion of national electricity consumption for the mining sector and the significance of electricity in the costs structure of mining operations.  Moreover, there is the instability of energy supply through unconventional renewables (sea, sun, wind, etc.). That means it’s necessary to add other generating sources given the lack of flexibility of the NCRE. Another challenge to consider is the delay and difficulty to obtain the necessary environmental and sectoral permits for the projects implementations due to their growing citizen consultation process.

  •  What should the renewables industry be doing to maximize the opportunity?

Boost citizen participation for every developing energy project. The community where a project will be located should be informed of the strengths of the renewable energy and the direct benefits that renewables will generate for the community.

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Tom Georgis, SolarReserve www.MarisaQPhotography.com

  • What are the main energy challenges for the mining sector in Chile?

Secure, non volatile, low cost energy that allows the mining companies to effectively manage their operating costs while maintaining a competitive position in the global commodity markets.  Reliance on foreign sources of hydrocarbons is not advantageous to the mining sector when Chile possesses the highest quality solar resource on the planet that can provide clean, cost competitive power for the life of the mine.

  •  What are the main barriers to the further deployment of renewables by the mining industry?

Baseload or firm 24 x 7 power supply is essential for the mining sector.  Only one proven technology can provide that quality of supply to match the mine load profile (electricity needs) and it is still considered nascent technology.  Once our Crescent Dunes 110 MW power plant begins operating  in the next few months, the perceived technology and performance risk will be abated.

  • What should the renewables industry be doing to maximize the opportunity?

Continuing to reduce costs while improving baseload performance will go a long way towards convincing the mines that renewable energy is a viable alternative to conventional power.   Also, as social and environmental backlash continues to grow over mining impacts; stressing a clean, emission free electricity supply will be advantageous.

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Fernando Hentschel, CIFES fernando hentzschel

  • What are the main energy challenges for the mining sector in Chile?

The mining industry is fighting against growing costs which are mainly due to the energy. On the other hand, the energy demand could increase by 80% by 2025, if the current projects take place. The main challenge is to achieve energy efficiency by energy savings or by the implementation of energy efficiency systems. The integration of the renewable energy in the mining sector will be essential in the short and medium term. In the future, the mining industry will have to face its main energy challenge: transportation. Biofuels and hydrogen could be solutions covering this big energy demand

  • What are the main barriers to the further deployment of renewables by the mining industry?

The mining industry has been a pioneer in the use of renewable energy in the country. The success of this integration can be observed through dozens of self-supply projects with NCRE in the industry. If I have to suggest a challenge of this integration in the mining sector, I would say its sustained strong demand. That means that the intermittency of the energy supply from some NCRE could be an issue. But we have to remember that there are sustainable technologies that aren’t intermittent such as CSP, biomass, and in the future, the geothermal. From the point of view of the market, we have to be aware that the majority of the supply contracts are long-term projects. This means that the bigger part of the demand has been contracted. If it’s not achieved, the NCRE have to compete with other energy suppliers that are sometimes less expensive.

  • What should the renewables industry be doing to maximize the opportunity?

There are various business models that could be applied in the mining industry. Now it’s time for all those in the renewable industry to sell its product: clean, competitive and affordable energy. The renewable industry has to be stronger and look for projects inspired by the ESCO model with the big mines. The mining industry could focus then its efforts in its business and wouldn’t lose neither strength nor time in projects outside of their field.



About Author

Andrew Slavin

Andrew Slavin

I am one of the directors of Energy and Mines and am also the curator of this site. I have been involved with B2B communications for the last 18 years including publications, conferences, think tanks and reports.

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