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New GSEP Case Study Highlights Energy Savings at Canadian Mining Operation

Monday, December 15, 2014

New GSEP Case Study Highlights Energy Savings at Canadian Mining Operation

The New Afton Mine is the first mine in North America to achieve ISO 50001 certification. Photo: New Gold

After becoming the first mine in North America to achieve certification to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001 energy management system standard, New Gold’s New Afton Mine in British Columbia, Canada, anticipates 9 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of annual energy savings in 2014.

Energy makes up a substantial portion of operating costs in the mining industry; therefore, energy savings derived from more proactive energy management are inextricably linked with profitability. “Mining is energy-intensive. At the New Afton Mine, a one percent reduction in energy costs is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” says Andrew Cooper, an energy specialist at the mine. The expected annual energy savings of 9 GWh in 2014 exceed the original project objective.

Working through the ISO 50001 energy planning process helped the energy team at the gold and copper mine learn more about energy management and energy use than the team originally thought was possible. “An energy management plan forces you to look at, and analyze, which factors and variables affect energy use at your site. This helps you understand how you can control the use of energy,” says Cooper.

The cross-functional energy team used ISO 50001 to tie the mine’s energy sources—electricity, diesel fuel, propane, natural gas, gasoline, and explosives—into energy accounting centers. The energy management system also helped the energy team set energy objectives and monitor, measure, and analyze energy performance to better manage energy use and cost. When implementing ISO 50001, the team found the Energy Management Information System (EMIS) tool developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to be extremely useful for tracking energy data.

In addition, awareness of energy management has increased at all levels of the organization. An employee energy savings suggestion process is being used well, and the energy team analyzed the suggestions during its 2014 energy review to determine what warranted further study in 2014 and what might be implemented in the 2015 financial year. “The number of spinoff benefits that resulted from energy performance improvement projects has been one of the biggest eye-openers for me,” says Cooper. “There is not one project to date that has had only an energy performance improvement benefit, because we have also had operational, environmental, and safety benefits associated with each project.”

The successful project is highlighted in a new case study from the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) Energy Management Working Group (EMWG). GSEP, an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, publishes the series of energy management case studies in an effort to improve energy efficiency and mitigate carbon emissions around the globe. This case study, along with other energy management system case studies, is available through the GSEP EMWG website.

About GSEP

GSEP aims to significantly cut global energy use by encouraging the industrial and commercial building sectors to continually improve their energy efficiency. GSEP’s EMWG seeks to accelerate broad energy management system use in industry and commercial buildings worldwide. The EMWG’s member countries share their knowledge and expertise, strategies, and best practices. The governments participating in the EMWG are Australia, Canada, the European Commission, India, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States. The GSEP initiative was launched in 2010 by the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation.