Palabora Mining Company

Project Description

In Operation since 1956 Palabora Copper (Pty) Limited is the only producer of refined copper in South Africa and provides the local market with 85% of its copper requirements. ELP 1 was designed to run over 3 and a half years, concluding the end of 2015. Twenty nine of the developed projects were implemented saving 120GWh per annum.

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Client: Rio Tinto/ Hebei Iron & Steel Group
Location: Phalaborwa, Limpopo. South Africa
Business Line: Mining, Copper
Timeframe: 2012 – 2015
Power Demand: 110MW
ELP 1 Energy Savings: 12.5% p.a.
Breakeven: 2.5 years

In Operation since 1956 Palabora Copper (Pty) Limited is the only producer of refined copper in South Africa and provides the local market with 85% of its copper requirements. Across the entire site from mine, processing, smelting and refining the operation has a total power demand of 110MW.

In 2012 Palabora Copper engaged Ensight to undertake a Desktop Review of its energy expenditure to identify energy cost savings in response to a 300% increase in electricity costs from 2009-2012. The week long Review initially identified over 100 energy saving opportunities with a potential saving of over US20m. Further analysis during the Diagnostic Review, taking into account available Capital and expected life-of-mine, revealed a shortlist of 36 unique opportunities. This became Ensight’s first industrial scale site-wide ELP.

ELP 1 was designed to run over 3 and a half years, concluding the end of 2015. Twenty nine of the developed projects were implemented. Available capital was supplemented with sourced Eskom funding and allocated to implementing 14 Minor Capital Projects (contributing 30% of savings). The remaining 15 projects were Management of Change projects and required no capital (contributing 70% of savings). The ELP’s site-wide project scope included all fossil fuel use onsite; electricity, coal, diesel and catbot. Covering a diverse range of projects; compressed air, blower, HVAC, combustion, dryer, lighting, slurry umping, milling and procurement. ELP1 achieved a 12.5% energy cost saving surpassing the targeted 10% the client had set for 2014, resulting in the decision to undertake a second ELP.

From the beginning of the program in 2012 to the start of 2015 the Ensight team at Palabora has:

Click here to watch Kobie Naude, general manager of asset management at Palabora Mining Company, interviewed on Growth Engines here.