Gold Fields Australia Commits To Reduce Its Carbon Footprint With Help From Aggreko, Which Also Notes Five Big Challenges Facing The Mining Industry.

Edited by Mark S. Kuhar

Aggrekko GoldGold Fields Australia committed to reduce its carbon footprint and use renewables for at least 20% of total life-of-mine power requirements in new projects. Two years prior, after a gas line extension was built by AngloGold Ashanti to service their mining operations in the region, Gold Fields Australia was able to use gas, a cleaner cheaper fuel source than the diesel it was using at the time, to power its operations going forward.

That’s when the miner turned to Aggreko to deliver a 22-MW gas power station. Working closely with Gold Fields to understand its needs, Aggreko delivered highly efficient modified engines that reduced fuel costs and environmental impact.

Knowing Aggreko had recently announced the launch of microgrids-as-a-service for customers who want to leverage the benefits of a hybrid energy solution while minimising capital outlay, discussions began about how and if this could be incorporated into Gold Fields’ current power package without compromising the micro-grid stability or reliability.

“We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations,” said Stuart Mathews, executive vice president Australasia, Gold Fields.

Leverage the Benefits of Hybrid Renewable Energy Microgrids

The solution was to integrate 7.3 MW of solar power generation, and 2MW/1MWh battery storage with the existing gas supply as a hybrid power station – under one contract and with no capital outlay.

This unique energy package combines solar, thermal and battery storage that’s seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggregko’s powerful software platform – guaranteeing full system availability and optimising existing thermal assets life.

This new solar gas hybrid power station will meet the increased daily power needs of the entire mine of 24.2 MW, with 8 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 16.2 MW for the processing plant, associated facilities and the mine accommodation camp.

Lower Energy Costs and Minimised Environmental Impact

Power generation is a significant proportion of operating costs of the Granny Smith mine for Gold Fields. Using the latest hybrid energy technologies will enable them to significantly lower their total cost of energy and reduce their carbon footprint, while demonstrating their ongoing commitment to both environmental sustainability and innovation as its operations – all of this without compromising the reliability of power supply and productivity of the mine.

Five BIG Challenges

Aggreko.5WaysThe mining industry comes with its fair share of challenges; from scarce resources to uncertainty around commodity prices. It means miners are always looking at ways to overcome barriers to stay competitive. Aggreko notes five of the biggest barriers currently facing the industry.

Energy – As resources in some areas become scarce or depleted, companies are forced to push new frontiers of exploration. Depending on what is being mined, this has the potential to be more expensive than traditional mining and could leave companies more reliant on rental power solutions as access to local power infrastructures may be unreliable or non-existent.

As energy moves towards a more decentralised future, independent power producers must adapt to the changing landscape and offer portable, modular solutions that can provide the reliability that longer-term solutions or the grid can supply.

Safety – Mining can be a dangerous profession. The traditional occupational hazards such as coal dust inhalation, damage to hearing due to the noise in a mine and chemical hazards still stand but the changing nature of mining has led to a raft of new issues.

As mines are getting deeper, the risk of collapse has greatly increased. With a rise in surface temperatures and an increasingly unpredictable climate, the temperature of a mine is more likely to fluctuate and as a result, consistent temperature control is even more important than it had previously been.

In an effort to prevent production from drying up, the TauTona mine in Johannesburg, South Africa, reaches a staggering 3.9 km underground. To put that in perspective, the elevator that workers travel from the surface to the rock face can take up to an hour. Temperatures this deep have reached 55°C, with rock face heat rising to a life threatening 60°C.

Temperature control is of critical importance to health and safety, as mines strive to not only maintain production levels, but also seek out new, viable locations. This equipment needs further power however, and as mine sites stray further away from the grid, it makes a reliable power partner all the more important.

Additionally, a change in mining practices has led to a renewed emphasis on the importance of consistent ventilation systems to ensure workers are kept safe from dangerous fumes.

Capital – Access and allocation of capital is often cited as one of the biggest issues facing the mining industry. Rocketing exploration and production costs have impacted profit margins and left investors reticent to engage with new projects, especially with smaller companies.

These less established companies, who lack the vast financial resources of the major companies, face the challenge of raising the necessary capital to invest in increasingly expensive mining practices or in large-scale equipment. Even more established companies’ face the dilemma of how to best allocate their capital, with hungry shareholders pressing for more returns.

Flexible finance has become an increasingly popular solution and it enables smaller mining companies to continue to push the barriers of exploration. Nervous investors and a lack of access to capital has meant numerous high-profile projects being scrapped, shelved or sent back to the drawing board.

Volatile commodity prices – Volatile commodity prices make it extremely difficult for companies to plan income and therefore expenditure. Recent disruption in commodity prices has led to many companies having to close down operations or make serious cuts in the size of their workforce.

As a result, mining companies are focused on improving efficiency and reducing cost more than ever. Belts are being tightened in the face of unpredictable commodity value. They are a trader’s paradise but an investor’s nightmare. It lends itself to short-term trading, and a lack of earnings through capital appreciation.

With budgets being scrutinised more than ever before, every possible measure is being taken to be as streamlined as possible, so exploration mining in itself is contrary to the strategy of most companies – to play it safe. Exploratory projects are necessary though, as stocks become depleted. This means that to counterbalance the unpredictability of exploration, other facets of mining will be subject to cuts and streamlining – so a cost-effective power solution will be high on the list of priorities.

Aggreko.SidebarEnvironmental impact – Traditionally a carbon intensive industry, miners are now looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact more than ever, especially with a rise in regulations intended to shrink the levels of emissions produced by the industry.

One of the major ways it can do so, is by evaluating their energy usage. Remote locations and limited access to local grid infrastructure means that the mining industry places significant demand on diesel generation for electricity. However, with recent enhancements in renewable energy, the industry is now seeing the rise of hybrid power solutions for mine site operations.

By combining renewables with thermal generation and battery storage, mine sites can now increase efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and overall costs. A solar-battery plant at an Australian mine is exhibiting 1.7 GWh of power production. This is in addition to the 23 MW diesel power plant already in place, but mining companies want their power from one place – a one-stop shop that encapsulates all cost and a single point for monitoring levels.

Hybrid solutions allow diesel generators to run at lower capacity, lowering emissions straight away. With a synchronized solar element to power generation, and with battery storage to allay any fears of unpredictable yield from solar power, a hybrid solution can make the difference, and all from a single supplier in many cases. Aggreko can reduce the cost of power, boost production and respond to mine site emergencies throughout every stage of a mine’s life.

Aggreko is a leading provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy solutions.

Aggreko’s 30 kVA and 60 kVA Batteries

Aggreko, a provider of mobile modular power, temperature control and energy solutions, announced its line of 30 kVA and 60 kVA battery storage modules for 2023. The fully integrated energy storage solutions source Aggreko’s deep knowledge and history of temporary power to provide customers with a clean energy option for their mobile power needs. The 30 kVA (65 kWh) and 60 kVA (120 kWh) batteries are all-in-one solutions that can be easily plugged into an existing power system, providing immediate and cost-efficient energy storage for any number of commercial and industrial applications.

Aggreko’s energy storage solutions for 2023 represent the company’s latest innovations in mobile, clean power. Customers can choose whichever capacity works best for their needs, and the modular batteries can be scaled up as required. Charging can be completed in as little as three hours, and the containerized nature of the batteries means they are delivered with inverters, HVAC, fire protection, and auxiliary components – everything needed to be immediately plugged into a project site, all in one unit.

The flexibility of the batteries enables them to be installed for a variety of applications needing energy storage, from events and data centers to refineries and renewable projects. Aggreko works with customers to design contracts that extend from several months to several years, ensuring that regardless of the type of project, the company’s batteries are well-placed to help clients reduce their energy costs and control their emissions output.

“We’re excited to introduce the latest version of our energy storage systems, providing our customers with the reliable mobile power they’re used to from us in a clean energy package,” said Stephen Saal, vice president of sales and marketing, North America at Aggreko.

“Our 30 kVA and 60 kVA batteries meet our stringent standards for temporary power, all while providing an energy storage solution to meet the clean energy needs of our clients. With our 2023 battery lineup, we’ve combined our decades of engineering expertise with our drive to deliver more zero-carbon power for the energy needs of modern industry.”

Aggreko’s latest batteries form a central pillar of the company’s Greener Upgrades initiative. Through this program, Aggreko is introducing updated models of its existing products and launching new ones that are an ideal fit for the clean energy transition.

Aggreko’s customers can explore products under the Greener Upgrades umbrella to easily find cleaner temporary power modules for their applications. Along with the 30 kVA and 60 kVA batteries, the Greener Upgrades products also include Tier 4F diesel generators, which meet the most stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for diesel engines, and the Fuel Flex 450 kW natural gas generator.

To learn more about Aggreko’s battery offerings for 2023, visit