Energy management a focus for New Afton mine.
A central theme in New Gold’s corporate presentation is ‘Investing in longer-lived, larger-scale, lower-cost assets.’ Another underlying message is the company’s commitment to the environment and social responsibility.
So when the New Afton mine in British Columbia, Canada was under construction, the team at New Gold was already looking to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive Energy Management Plan. Twenty-one stakeholders at the mine were surveyed to contribute to the plan that focused on lower-cost operations and sustainability.
Energy is a big expense for us, so any improvement in efficiency contributes to the bottom line of the company.
A champion for energy management.
Hailing from Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, New Gold’s Energy Specialist Andrew Cooper shares a quick anecdote to the large crowd assembled at a convention where he’s giving a keynote on energy management.
Andrew’s story is about growing up in Bulawayo where water was an incredibly scarce resource. The story’s punch line is it would get so dry that when traffic lights in the city turned green, roaming goats would try to eat them. The joke gets a laugh as Andrew goes on to share why he’s passionate about conservation.
“It was because of this situation that I found a passion for minimizing waste and maximizing resources that are available to us,” explains Cooper.
It’s this passion that informs Cooper’s sustainable systems-based approach to energy management with long-term ROI rather than flash-in-the-pan project-based initiatives typically undertaken by many companies.
RtEMIS selected for ISO 50001 certification.
Realizing the efficiencies that could be achieved from a self-sustaining system entrenched in the culture of the organization, Cooper and the New Gold team set an ambitious goal to meet the ISO 50001 standard for energy management.
“Our vision at New Gold was to make energy management self-sustaining. Something that is done on a day to day basis as part of what we do at New Gold,” says Cooper.
However to effectively manage any process or cost, the first step is effective measurement. In the field of energy management, this is done using an Energy Management Information System, otherwise known as an EMIS. An EMIS is also a requirement for ISO 50001 compliance.
According to Natural Resources Canada, which offers an extensive EMIS Planning Manual and Tool, an EMIS is ‘a performance management system that enables individuals and organizations to plan, make decisions and take effective action to manage energy use and costs.’
RtTech’s RtEMIS was the right solution for New Gold. In addition to answering to the requirements of the company’s key stakeholders as well as compliance with Natural Resource Canada’s guidelines and ISO 50001, the software also integrated seamlessly with New Gold’s data historian, OSIsoft’s PI System.
RtEMIS by RtTech stood out because they had good experience in industrial environments, it worked off the PI system nicely and they were able to meet our timelines.
RtEMIS monitors 160+ consumption data points.
Within a fast-tracked timeline of 6 months, RtEMIS was implemented at New Afton, no small task given the extensive metering network required at the site. A comprehensive network of 157 electrical sub-meters, 6 gas meters and a data concentrator are now monitored by RtEMIS.
As per New Gold’s requirements, RtEMIS manages four primary Energy Account Centers (EACs) aligned with financial cost accounting requirements and an All Fuels Audit (AFA) with three of the four EACs were broken down into Secondary EACs.
“We have had tangible benefits,” says Cooper. “For instance, our pebble crusher was down for a short while. Using the information from RtEMIS we found out we were using 17% more energy per tonne when that equipment was down as opposed to when it was running.”
With RtEMIS, Energy Cost Allocation each month has become far easier and far more accurate.
The first ISO50001 certified mine in North America.
In March, 2014 the New Afton mine met their goal and became the first ISO 50001 certified mining facility in North America.
“Due to efficient production and specialized mining methods, New Gold is one of the lowest cost producers in the industry and with good energy management practices, we have reduced those costs even further,” says Cooper.