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First Quantum Minerals: Metals Pricing is Increasing Mine’s focus on Energy Cost Reduction

First Quantum Minerals: Metals Pricing is Increasing Mine’s focus on Energy Cost Reduction
December 01
09:56 2015

“The decrease in metal prices is accelerating the implementation of specific measures to reduce energy consumption and improve purchasing price and conditions,” reports First Quantum’s Technology and Innovation Director, Carlos Frias. Based in Seville, Spain, Frias heads the energy decisions for First Quantum’s Cobre Las Cruces mine, which is an open pit operation and process plant located in the Sevilla Province of Southern Spain.

Frias is an experienced mining engineering and energy expert having spent eight years at Rio Tinto prior to joining First Quantum. He is leading the energy re-use and savings strategies at Cobre Las Cruces, which is  a grid-connected project but faces energy price hikes and supply insecurity. Here, he provides some insights on how current commodity performance is shaping mining’s energy strategy.

Q: What are your top three energy concerns?

A: My top three concerns are the energy price increases in Spain, the energy instability here and the very short term contract for price with energy price determined on a daily basis.

Q: How have changes in commodity prices affected your energy strategy?

A: Cobre Las Cruces is engaged into an ambitious energy efficiency plan to enhance operational results. The decrease in metal prices is accelerating the implementation of specific measures to reduce energy consumption and improve purchasing price and conditions.

Q: What steps have been taken at the mine to reduce energy usage and cost?

A: In terms of power consumption, we performed a detailed energy efficiency audit to identify critical areas and propose an improvement plan covering electricity and natural gas consumption, residual heat in the process stream, heat recovery from reactors, etc. Our plan for this is now underway.

For energy pricing, we purchase electricity in the pool market along with other consumers. It is fundamental for us to achieve a better price control and yield savings in electricity.

We are also focusing on process management to take advantage of part of the heat energy generated in the mining-metallurgical process to decrease the consumption of fuels (natural gas) and recycling specific heat process streams.

Q: What is the biggest misconception that energy companies have about the ways that mining leaders think about power?

 A: It seems that companies supplying energy to the market don’t pay enough attention and importance to the energy consumption and energy efficiency issues that mines have because the mining business is seen as a very profitable sector. But energy together with water are two critical issues for any mining company.

 

Carlos Frias is speaking at the Energy and Mines London Summit, January 28-29 – full details here

 



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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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