Energy consumption across the mining value chain

The mining value chain involves the extraction and processing of minerals from mine site to customer. The level of influence and interest that mining organisations have at each stage of the value chain depends on their corporate structure and business strategy. For example, a mine may be owned and operated by a single entity. Alternatively, various activities may be contracted out to other organisations.

In this handbook, opportunities to improve the management of energy are considered across seven different activities, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Mining activities that present opportunities for improved energy management

Figure 2: Mining activities that present opportunities for improved energy management

This provides a useful typology for describing improvement opportunities. At the same time, however, it is important to adopt a holistic perspective, since an increase in energy use at one stage of the process may lead to a decrease at subsequent stages. While the focus throughout the handbook is on collaboration within an organisation, achieving optimal outcomes may require collaboration with other organisations as well. For example, where subcontractors are responsible for particular activities—such as onsite materials movement—they may have direct influence over the way in which energy is used (operational control). Contracts between owners and subcontractors also highlight who will pay for the energy that is consumed (financial control).

As well as technical changes to a mine, various other factors influence the level of attention and effort that is dedicated to energy management. For example, changes in energy prices or legislation can either increase or decrease the level of attention placed on energy management. This presents a challenge for managers to ensure that when changes in consumption patterns or equipment occur energy efficiency is considered in an integrated and continuous manner. This requires a dynamic and performance-based approach to energy management, as outlined in this handbook.

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