Tag Archives: mine power

Nel and Wood to collaborate on large scale, renewable hydrogen projects

Nel ASA has entered into a framework agreement with the global consulting and engineering company Wood that will see the companies collaborate to develop and execute large scale, complex green renewable hydrogen projects in select regions across the world.

Wood is a leader in consulting and engineering across various industries including mining. Nel, meanwhile, is a global, dedicated hydrogen company, delivering solutions to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen from renewable energy.

Jon André Løkke, CEO of Nel ASA, said: “We are very excited to be entering into this agreement with Wood, who has extensive experience from large, complex projects worldwide. As green hydrogen projects are growing in size and complexity, it is crucial for our success to have strong partners to strengthen our project management – and execution capabilities. This is a long-term commitment, and we look forward to working together to further strengthen our competitiveness through leveraging our experience and competence.”

Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser AS, a subsidiary of Nel ASA, is delivering a 3.5 MW electrolyser to ENGIE as part of a project to deliver the world’s largest fuel cell haul truck for Anglo American.

Craig Shanaghey, Wood’s President of Operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to support NEL Hydrogen as they play their part in the green hydrogen revolution, and as we unite on our commitment to create a more sustainable and cleaner energy future. We look forward to leveraging our global engineering and project implementation capabilities to support our client on their delivery of impactful solutions around the world.”

The process of phasing in Wood on ongoing projects is underway, Nel said.

Wiluna Mining lays renewable energy groundwork with Contract Power extension

Wiluna Mining Corp has signed a 10-year contract extension with Contract Power Group that will see the power provider charge up the Wiluna Mining Operation in Western Australia until at least 2031.

The contract is geared towards meeting the forward needs of the Stage 1 development project at Wiluna, to provide a total rated power output of the power station of 14.1 MW. It will also re-configure the power station to increase gas generation and add a 2 MW battery energy storage unit to significantly reduce the need for back-up diesel generation, with four diesel generators being removed.

The new pact will also allow amortisation of costs over a longer period, therefore reducing Wiluna’s overall operating power charges; the company said.

And, when it comes to the Stage 2 development expansion project in 2023 at Wiluna, the contract will provide a solid base for a future mixed renewables power station, the company said.

Back in October, Wiluna Mining’s board gave the thumbs up to the Stage 1 development, which will see the company transition from its current production profile of producing 62,000 oz/y from mining free milling ore through the current 2.1 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility, to initially producing 100,000-120,000 oz/y of gold and gold in concentrate. This will be implemented using the current, recently refurbished crushing circuit, the previously expanded mill circuit and a new 750,000 t/y concentrator by October 2021, the company said.

Wiluna then intends to increase production of gold and gold in concentrate by, at a minimum, doubling the mining rate and the concentrator to produce circa-250,000 oz/y by the end of 2023/early 2024 as part of Stage 2.

Contract Power, a subsidiary of Pacific Energy, has provided Wiluna’s power – a mix of natural gas and diesel power backup – since June 2016.

“Contract Power Group are experts in efficient generation of electrical power and in decarbonisation by harnessing off-grid wind or solar power,” Wiluna said. “Wiluna are refining its plans with Contract Power Group to include decarbonisation within our methods of power generation at site. This may also moderate our exposure to future volatility in the cost of hydrocarbon fuels.”

Wiluna will now focus on renewable power studies and options during 2021 and 2022 to:

  • Assess the right mix of renewables including solar, wind or pumped storage options;
  • Determine how best to integrate renewables into the total power delivery for an expanded operation; and
  • Optimise the decarbonisation of power generation with reliability and cost effectiveness.

Milan Jerkovic, Wiluna Mining’s Executive Chair, said: “We look forward to working with Contract Power to not only transitioning the Wiluna Mine once again into one of Australia’s biggest and most profitable gold mines, but to helping it become one of Australia’s cleanest mines.”

Trevali taps EMESCO for solar power contract at Rosh Pinah mine

Trevali Mining has entered into a 15-year renewable Power Purchase Agreement with Emerging Markets Energy Services Company (EMESCO) for the supply of solar power to its Rosh Pinah zinc-lead-silver mine in Namibia.

Trevali has committed to achieving an overall greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 25% by 2025 from its 2018 baseline, with the PPA anticipated to deliver 30% of Rosh Pinah’s power requirements during the life of the agreement and reduce GHG emissions at the company level by 6%.

EMESCO will be responsible for the design, permitting, financing and implementation of a solar energy system on a neighbouring property at no cost to Trevali. EMESCO will then sell the power generated to Trevali at a fixed rate that is expected to reduce energy costs by 18% over the 15-year term of the agreement.

EMESCO was chosen based on a variety of factors, including expertise in the field of renewable energy, an understanding of the scope of work required, the ability to execute and deliver on Trevali’s requirements, and pricing, the miner said.

If Trevali makes a positive investment decision on the RP2.0 expansion project, which could see output rise to 3,600 t/d from 2,000 t/d, EMESCO will increase the delivery of power to Rosh Pinah to remain at 30% of the mine’s annual energy consumption as regulated by the Modified Single Buyer framework in Namibia, it added.

Ricus Grimbeek, President & CEO, said: “Our sustainability program commits to significant reductions in GHG emissions, and with the signing of this agreement with EMESCO we have taken a major step towards delivering on our commitment by securing renewable energy while also reducing our expected energy costs.

“The agreement with EMESCO has been designed to scale with the output of the mine so that when we are ready to make the decision to build the RP2.0 Expansion project, the delivery of power will increase to match our requirements.

“We are extremely excited by this partnership at Rosh Pinah and continue to study ways to reduce Trevali’s GHG emissions and deliver on this and our other sustainability targets.”

Red 5 taps Zenith Energy for hybrid power options at King of the Hills gold project

Red 5 Ltd has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with a subsidiary of Zenith Energy Ltd that will see the growing Australia-based power producer build, own and operate approximately 30 MW of hybrid power generation capacity to service the needs of the King of the Hills (KOTH) project in Western Australia.

The power inputs as part of the BOO agreement comprise high efficiency reciprocating gas fuel power generation together with a 2 MW photovoltaic solar farm (an example from Zenith’s other work shown above) and a battery energy storage system.

Power supply to the site is planned to commence in the March quarter of 2022 with an initial term of 10 years. The contract includes provision for a potential future upgrade to the power station to support increased plant throughput beyond the initial planned 4 Mt/y run rate, Red 5 says.

Gas will be supplied from the Goldfields Gas Pipeline, 12 km west of the mine, under separate contracts, the company clarified.

Red 5 Managing Director, Mark Williams, said the award of the agreement marked another important construction milestone for the King of the Hills project while, at the same time, helping to achieve one of the company’s environmental, social and governance commitments to reduce the carbon footprint of the project.

“We are pleased to have signed the Power Purchase Agreement with Zenith, an experienced power producer which provided us with a compelling hybrid thermal and sustainable power solution that includes renewable energy,” he said. “Zenith’s combination of a gas and solar power station, supported by a battery energy storage system, provides the efficiency and stability required for the processing plant and infrastructure to enable King of the Hills to be a long-life, low-cost gold producer.”

The KOTH project is an open pit and underground gold deposit with a projected mine life of over 16 years. This could see the company produce 176,000 oz/y of gold over the first six years, according to a recent feasibility study.

Private equity firms look to take over Aggreko

The boards of directors of Aggreko plc and Albion Acquisitions Ltd have reached agreement on the terms and conditions of a recommended all-cash acquisition from I Squared Capital and TDR Capital for the mobile power provider.

The £8.80/share offer values Aggreko at £2.32 billion ($3.2 billion).

Earlier this week, Aggreko announced an underlying profit before tax of £102 million for 2020, slightly ahead of its initial guidance of £80-100 million, and group revenue of £693 million for 2020, down from £823 million in 2019. The company stated that 7% of this revenue came from the mining sector.

Aggreko said its directors intended to recommend unanimously that Aggreko shareholders vote in favour of the proposed scheme at a court meeting and general meeting. The acquisition is expected to become effective in summer of 2021 (in the Northern Hemisphere).

Ken Hanna, the Chairman of Aggreko, said: “The Aggreko Board believes that the offer from I Squared Capital and TDR Capital represents an attractive price in cash that fairly recognises Aggreko’s future prospects. We believe that the business, its people and customers will continue to be well supported with I Squared Capital and TDR Capital as shareholders bringing their expertise in energy and rental markets to support our existing strategy.”

Adil Rahmathulla of I Squared Capital added: “Aggreko is a global market leader in delivering bespoke temporary power solutions to its customers and has clearly shown it has a strategy to complete its journey towards a net-zero emission business. The urgency to deliver on that transition has only increased in the post-COVID environment.

“Repositioning Aggreko fast enough to truly capitalise on these trends and rapidly shifting customer demand requires significant investment in clean technology and a step change in the pace of transformation. We are well positioned to accelerate Aggreko’s development at this critical juncture and secure a successful future for the company, underpinned by a long-term investment focus and the combined expertise of TDR Capital and I Squared Capital in the power infrastructure and equipment rental sectors.”

Aggreko to energise mine power space with investment proposition

Mobile power provider Aggreko says it is making the transition from being a pure power provider to a long-term mining project investor that is helping miners navigate the energy transition.

Aggreko has built an almost 60-year-long reputation for powering many sectors around the globe. It has also supplied power and underground cooling to the mining sector for more than 35 years and has evolved into life-of-mine contracts and renewables.

In its latest report – which details its future energy transition – Aggreko cites mining as a major growth sector. Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, stated that Aggreko’s global team’s unique offering is with build-own-operate investments across all continents.

As well as continuing to invest upward of £250 million ($347 million) annually in technology and innovation, the company says it is ready to further boost its investments in the natural resources industry.

Whyte said: “Investor partnerships can support the rapid changes in technology and emissions compliance that our mining customers are facing. Investing millions of dollars in capital for a mine’s power plant is a risk for any company, and, as a partner, Aggreko takes on this risk instead of the mining company. It is a smart way for miners to do business in the post-COVID and renewables era.”

Aggreko’s Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy, said miners struggling to get funding for capital expenditure projects were looking to outsource, and there was a trend toward creating partnerships with providers.

“Partnerships provide more value beyond de-risking project finances,” Saffy said. “There are technology and emissions risks, so by partnering with us, for example, we aren’t just supplying equipment and labour, we share in decision making and project milestones, we invest and update technology on-site and navigate social and environmental impacts together.”
Saffy said companies looking to build power stations for the first time particularly benefited from supportive partnerships with Aggreko.

“Power stations are our core business, and they have become much more complex on mine sites than they have been in the past,” he said. “It is challenging to get funding to build power stations, and miners are needing support to integrate renewables into their plans immediately or in the future, or needing solutions designed from scratch.

“Partnering with us is a sustainable and beneficial business solution. Miners are wanting hybrid power stations that might utilise a mix of energy sources such as diesel, gas, solar or battery, for example. They also want that power to be scaled up or down and upgraded as their needs change and new technology comes online.”

Saffy said mines throughout the world were becoming less dependent on mass-scale thermal plants to deliver baseload power through national grids.

“With the cost of renewable power generation falling, there is also growth in localised microgrids, which means less dependence or complete independence from the grid,” he said. “Miners in Australia, Africa and South America, where there is less infrastructure in remote locations, are finding it particularly helpful to partner with us from the start of a major project.”

One such example is the Gold Fields Salares Norte Mine in northern Chile where Aggreko has become a major investor, and partner for the mining project for at least 10 years. The mine is located 190 km from the nearest town and is 4,500 m above sea level, and Aggreko is creating an off-grid hybrid power solution, comprising of diesel and solar for the harsh environmental conditions. Aggreko estimates the mine will experience $7.4 million in cost energy savings across the 10 years.

Saffy said the benefits for Aggreko in partnering and investing with miners from the beginning of their project to the end of the life of mine was beneficial for both parties.

“As a partner, Aggreko de-risks the threat of future innovation and technology for miners,” he said. “Our build, own, operate and maintain model frees up working capital without increasing the debt ratio for mining projects. Modular equipment also gives miners the ability to leverage innovation at low risk and not be concerned about having the latest equipment.

“We benefit too, by showcasing our expertise and innovations throughout a project’s lifecycle and support mining companies to reduce emissions and increase their operational efficiencies.”

Late last year, Aggreko committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Gold Fields wins NERSA approval for South Deep solar power plant

Gold Fields says it has received the electricity generation licence approval from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) for the construction of a 40 MW solar power plant at its South Deep gold mine in the country.

The acting CEO of NERSA now has to authorise the licence, a decision that should be forthcoming over the next two weeks, the miner said. All the regulatory approvals to proceed with the project will then be in place.

Gold Fields will update its definitive costings and finalise all the required internal processes to commence the project as soon as possible. The company has stated previously that the solar plant has the potential to provide around 20% of South Deep’s average electricity consumption.

Nick Holland, Gold Fields CEO, said: “The solar power plant will increase the reliability and affordability of power supply to South Deep, ultimately enhancing the long-term sustainability of the mine.

“The approval of this licence sends a strong, positive message to mining companies and their investors, potentially leading to decisions being taken to sustain and grow mining operations in the country, especially in deep-level, underground, marginal mines. Enabling companies to generate their own power also gives Eskom room to address operational issues at its power plants.”

Gold Fields says its energy objectives are based on four pillars – energy must be reliable, available, cost-effective and clean – which promote a shift to self-generation using renewable energy sources. “We are fully committed to making our contribution towards net-zero emissions,” Holland says.

During 2020, Gold Fields successfully implemented solar and wind power plants, backed by battery storage, at two of its Australian mines, Agnew and Granny Smith, and committed to renewables at its other Australian mines, Gruyere and St Ives, as well as the Salares Norte project in Chile when it starts operations in 2023. All its other mines are also reviewing renewable energy options.

Since full commissioning of the Agnew microgrid, renewable electricity averages over 55% of total supply at the mine.

During 2020, renewable electricity averaged 8% for the Australia region and 3% of total group electricity, Gold Fields said. Once the South Deep project is commissioned, renewable’s contribution to the group total will rise to around 11%.

Holland concluded: “We expect our investment in renewable and low-carbon energy sources to contribute significantly to our carbon emission reductions over the next few years. Power from the South Deep solar plant will partially replace coal-fired electricity from Eskom, enabling us to significantly reduce our Scope 2 carbon emissions.”

Galena signs up Contract Power for hybrid power gen facility at Abra JV

Abra Mining Pty Ltd, the joint venture company behind the Abra base metals project, has executed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Contract Power Australia that could see the construction and operation of a hybrid power generation facility made up of a natural gas and solar energy array at the Western Australia project.

Announcing the PPA, Galena Mining, which owns 77.28% of the project, said Contract Power will build, own and operate an integrated hybrid power generation facility combining a 10 MW natural gas fired power station, a 6 MW solar array, 2 MW of battery energy storage and a 900 Kl LNG storage and regasification facility.

Power will be purchased by Abra under the PPA for an initial term of 16-years (extendable), it said.

Galena Managing Director, Alex Molyneux, said: “We’re pleased to partner with Contract Power on a clean, cost-effective power solution for Abra. Integrating solar with relatively clean natural gas instead of diesel achieves a marked reduction in Abra’s carbon footprint compared to alternatives considered in the tender process.

“Pleasingly, the design also offered the most cost-effective solution, in line with our feasibility study estimates.”

This definitive feasibility study outlined development of a mine and processing facility with a 16-year life producing a high-value, high-grade lead-silver concentrate containing around 95,000 t/y of lead and 805,000 oz/y of silver after ramp-up.

A Western Australia-based company wholly-owned by Pacific Energy Ltd, Contract Power specialises in the design, construction and operation of remote power stations for the mining and government sectors.

Contract Power has operated power stations around Australia under turnkey build-own-operate arrangements since 1999, and recent projects include a 56 MW gas fired power station for Mineral Resources Ltd’s Wodgina lithium project, a 18 MW gas fired station for Capricorn Resources’ Karlawinda project and a 18 MW gas and diesel power station at Wiluna Mining Corp‘s Wiluna gold project.

Contract Power’s Managing Director, Leon Hodges, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Galena on this important project and look forward to rewarding their confidence by delivering a world-class hybrid power station.

“Contract Power’s combined LNG and renewables integration capability has allowed our design team to maximise solar penetration as high as the economics and technology allows, providing the Abra project with the highest reliability and lowest cost of power on an unsubsidised basis.”

The PPA remains subject to the condition of Abra Mining Pty Ltd proceeding to final investment decision for the project, Galena said.

Aggreko commits to ‘net zero’ targets, supporting customers through energy transition

Aggreko has announced its ambition to be “net zero” by 2050 or sooner, aligning with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The company, which has delivered many off-grid power solutions to the mining sector, a number of which have renewable energy inputs, has also committed to offering cleaner technologies and fuels to support its customers through their energy transition – using flexible and competitive energy solutions to meet their environmental sustainability targets.

By 2030, Aggreko says it will:

  • Reduce the amount of fossil diesel fuel used in customer solutions by at least 50% by offering customers cleaner technologies and fuels that guarantee the same or better level of reliability and competitiveness;
  • Reduce local air quality emissions of their solutions also by 50% (all emissions from diesel, gas and other fuels); and
  • Achieve net zero across all its own business operations.

By 2050 or sooner, it says it will also be a “net zero” business across all the services it provides.

The company explained: “For a number of years, Aggreko has been making progress in providing cleaner solutions for customers around the world, such as turning waste gas into power or by incorporating battery storage, solar, and more efficient and near zero local emissions generators. Aggreko is pioneering by partnering with many leading organisations across industry sectors that aim to be net zero or close to net zero within the next decade, supporting them in navigating the complexity and the cost challenges they face in achieving their own commitments.”

To achieve its 2030 and 2050 ambitions, Aggreko plans to accelerate investment in lower-carbon technologies and will continue to shift its global generator fleet towards more gas and greener drop-in liquid fuels. It will also invest in other clean energy alternatives such as e-fuels, hydrogen-ready engines and fuel cells, in preparation for rapid exploitation as the technology becomes available at scale, while also closely monitoring and investigating future technologies, the company said.

Aggreko is to accelerate its offering of more efficient solutions notably through temperature control, energy recovery, co- or tri-generation, it said. Simultaneously, it will continue to grow its portfolio of mobile and modular solar power and battery storage assets, which, when combined with its generator fleet, helps customers to successfully reduce their carbon emissions and costs.

“Aggreko will continue to enhance the use of connected systems, remote monitoring and data analytics to increase efficiency and track performance against its own and its customers’ emissions reduction targets,” the company said.

Chris Weston, CEO of Aggreko, said: “The energy transition is fundamentally changing the way power is generated and delivered. Our customers’ needs are evolving – they require cleaner solutions but without compromising reliability, modularity or cost efficiency. We’ve already begun transforming our fleet and solutions to meet changing customer needs and to achieve our objective to become a net zero company.”

He added: “Our customers are looking to reduce their carbon and air quality emissions and we are the perfect partner to support them in their journey. With our expertise in hybrid solutions and efficient thermal generation, we are already supporting them across the world through the energy transition.”

He concluded: “Our industry-leading net zero commitments are ambitious but achievable and put us on the path to reduce both our own environmental footprint and that of our customers as we look ahead to a greener future.”

Optimising energy management at B2Gold’s Fekola mine

The delivery of a cutting-edge 17 MW/15 MWh energy storage platform and Wärtsilä’s advanced GEMS system is optimising energy management at B2Gold’s Fekola gold in Mali, Luke Witmer* writes.

Since B2Gold first acquired the Fekola gold mine, located in a remote corner of southwest Mali, exploration studies revealed the deposits to be almost double the initial estimates.

A recent site expansion has just been completed, and while the existing power units provide enough power to support the increase in production, the company sought to reduce its energy costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase power reliability.

The addition of a 35 MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and 17 MW/15 MWh of energy storage to the existing 64 MW thermal engine plant was decided. This new energy mix is anticipated to save over 13 million litres of fuel, reduce carbon emissions by 39,000 t/y, and generate a payback in just over four years.

Such an elaborate hybrid configuration needs a powerful brain to deliver on all its potential: Wärtsilä’s GEMS, an advanced energy management system, has been set up to control the energy across the fleet of power sources, thermal, renewable, and battery storage. The integration, control, and optimisation capabilities provided by GEMS allow the thermal units to be run at the most efficient rate and enable the battery storage to handle the large load step changes and volatility of the solar PV generation assets.

Integrated hybrid energy solution

In the context of the Fekola mine, which is an off-grid electrical island, the battery is performing a lot of different services simultaneously, including frequency response, voltage support, shifting solar energy, and providing spinning reserves. The energy load is very flat, with a steady consumption rate around 40 MW as the mining equipment is operating consistently, 24/7. However, if an engine trips offline and fails, the battery serves as an emergency backstop. The controls reserve enough battery energy capacity to fill the power gap for the time it takes to get another engine started, and the software inside each inverter enables the battery to respond instantaneously to any frequency deviation.

The reciprocating engines operate most efficiently at 85-90% of their capacity: this is their ‘sweet spot’. But if there is a sudden spike in demand, if a little more power is needed, or if mining equipment is coming online, then another engine needs to be run to meet the extra load.

With the battery providing spinning reserves, the engines can be kept running at their sweet spot, reducing the overall cost per kilowatt hour. Moreover, with the solar plant providing power during the day, three to four engines can be shut down over this period, providing a quiet time to carry out preventive maintenance. This really helps the maintenance cycle, ensuring that the engines operate in a more efficient manner.

Solar PV volatility can be intense. On a bright day with puffy clouds passing by, a solar farm of this size can easily see ramps of 25 MW over a couple of minutes. This requires intelligent controls, dynamically checking the amount of solar that can be let into the grid without causing an issue for the engine loadings or without overloading the battery.

Conducting the orchestra

The GEMS intelligent software provides the optimisation layer that controls all the power sources to ensure that they work together in harmony. The user interface (UI) gives access to all the data and presents it in a user-friendly way. Accessible remotely, all operations are simulated on a digital twin in the cloud to verify the system controls and simulate the most efficient operating scenarios to lower the cost of energy.

This is an important software feature, both during and after commissioning as it allows operators to train on the platform ahead of time and familiarise themselves with the automated controls and dynamic curtailment of renewables. The UI provides the forecast for renewables and the battery charge status at any given moment, it can provide push email or phone notifications for alerts; telling operators when to turn off an engine and when to turn it back on.

The software is constantly analysing the data and running the math to solve the economic dispatch requirements and unit commitment constraints to ensure grid reliability and high engine efficiency. Load forecasting integrates the different trends and patterns that are detectable in historic data as well as satellite based solar forecasting to provide a holistic approach to dispatching power. The Fekola site has a sky imager, or cloud tracking camera with a fisheye lens, that provides solar forecasts for the next half hour in high temporal resolution.

To ensure that operators really understand the platform, and have visibility over the advanced controls, the UI provides probability distributions of the solar forecast. Tracking the forecast errors enables operators to see whether the solar is overproducing or underproducing what the forecast was expecting at the time and provides visibility to the operators on the key performance indicators. This feedback is an important part of the machine/human interface and provides operators with insight if an engine is required to be turned on at short notice.

Automated curtailment enables the optimisation of the system providing a reactivity that people cannot match. By continually monitoring the engine loadings and battery, the system is ready to clamp down on solar if it gets too volatile or exceeds some spinning reserve requirement. For example, if a large, unexpected cloud arrives, the battery is dispatched to fill the gap while the engines ramp up. Once the cloud disappears, however, the engines remain committed to operating for a few hours, and the solar power is transferred to recharge the battery.

Over time, as load patterns shift, the load forecasting algorithm will also be dynamically updating to match the changing realities of the load. As mining equipment hits layers of harder rock, increasing the power load, the system will adjust and dispatch the engines accordingly.

The new gold standard

The Fekola mine project incorporates the largest off-grid hybrid power solution in the world, demonstrating the growing case for clean energy and its sustainable and economic potential for mines in Africa and beyond.

As the cost of batteries and solar panels continues to become more competitive, hybrid solutions are proving to be a realistic and effective means for increasing energy reliability and lowering operating costs in any context, thus freeing up resources to improve the human condition; whether through cheaper materials and gainful employment, or by providing broader access to reliable electricity for healthcare, education, and improved quality of life.

*This piece was written by Luke Witmer, General Manager, Data Science, Wärtsilä Energy Storage and Optimization