An approach to energy management at Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 810, 1979

D.M. DOYLE, Energy Conservation Coordinator, Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited, Falconbridge, Ontario

A study of the various components contributing to energy costs and their relationships to generally trended operating data, such as tonnage, operating costs, etc., over progressively shorter time periods provides information for an energy audit. A study of annual data gives some insight into the importance of various energy components. As the time frame of the study progresses through monthly, daily and, finally, into quarter-hourly data, the variations become more evident and, most important, strategies develop to minimize energy costs. The results of an audit conducted during the summer of 1978 at Wesfrob Mines Limited are reported to illustrate this important phase, prerequisite to a meaningful energy cost avoidance program.The balance of the paper deals with the energy conservation program at Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited's Sudbury operations, the metering and control equipment, the commitment, the new energy accounting practices and, lastly, the policies. Examples of successful energy conservation endeavours include automatic peak electrical load control, waste heat recovery from mine air and compressor cooling water, energy reductions resulting from lower building temperatures and curtailment of idling loads. The use of pulse meters to measure the flow of gas, steam, compressed air and electrical energy, with their signals interfaced to process computers, allows monthly, daily and, if necessary, immediate reporting of energy and energy per unit of production informotion. The program so reported at Falconbridge's Sudbury Operations is credited with an annual cost avoidance of .9 million dollars in a 14.0-million-dollar annual energy account.
Keywords: Energy conservation, Wesfrob, Falconbridge, Electrical control, Underground mining, Mineral processing, Heating, Process control.