Supporting mining operations Down Under

Mining has always played an important role in the Australian economy. From the massive iron mines in the west to the coal mines in the east, the country consistently produces significant quantities of ore and minerals for use both domestically and internationally.

While there's been talk of a slowdown in recent years, the industry is still vital. In fact, according to IBISWorld research, the industry records a yearly revenue of $193 billion, with 6,783 businesses operating in the country. What's more, the sector employees 177,900 individuals.

With the industry so critical to Australia, it's important the mines and processing facilities are able to continue operating around the clock. After all, there's a reason WA mining companies utilise automated transport trucks to carry ore. It's time to consider onsite power solutions as both a way to reduce operating costs and add a much-needed layer of security.

About the industry

According to Mining Careers, Australia is currently the leading producer of gold, iron ore, diamonds (by weight), zinc and uranium in the world. What's more, the country is also the third-largest producer of both silver and nickel. The organisation explained that following an investment phase where the industry developed the systems necessary to extract the resources from the ground, a transition to production began in 2015.

With the industry accounting for 7 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product in 2014, it's important that the businesses in this sector start thinking about what can go wrong, and how to stop the issues before they occur.

Exploring a worst-case scenario

Mining operations can usually be divided into two main onsite operations. While of course there are the ongoing extraction efforts to remove ores and minerals from the ground, process the materials, and then transport them to a processing facility, monitoring of the site and the related support systems is equally important.

In most cases, this is achieved through the utilisation of a main office as well as cameras and lights across the site. Right now, diesel is the fuel of choice for most major mining operations in Australia, as it's subsidised by the Australian government in the form of excise rebates. But what happens when mines run into issues with diesel power systems? Or, on the other hand, what if the government removes these rebates?

A solution with microturbines

Capstone Secure Power is the best solution for mining operations. Thanks to the use of microturbines as opposed to more outmoded forms of generation, the system is simple, reliable and extremely efficient. What's more, microturbines offer flexibility whilst being able to utilise natural gas in the form of LNG or even LPG. This means that if the excise rebates are ever removed, there's no impact for mining operations as the rebates apply to diesel.

So, how does it work?

In a mining office, for example, a microturbine system could take over in the event of a blackout or other natural disaster, allowing operations to continue. For larger pieces of equipment or machinery, mining companies can install larger numbers of generators, in effect scaling them up to delivery the necessary power.

Some of the main benefits of these solutions include:

  • Clean operation
  • Multiple power modules to avoid single points of failure
  • Ability to expand to match the energy demands of the operation

Once the systems have been put in place, mining operations can continue to operate without fear of running into significant operational issues.

It's high time mining organisations in Australia start to think seriously about the benefits of new power solutions. Mining continues to play an important role in Australia, and operations need to be able to continue running. Reach out to Optimal Group today to learn more about capable microturbines.