Assessment Shows How Coeur Rochester Mine Can Improve Process Control While Saving Energy and Money
October 19, 2005
To reduce energy use while making plant operations more efficient, a team at the Coeur Rochester silver mine in Rochester, Nevada, conducted a plant-wide assessment that uncovered five opportunities for significant energy and cost savings.
Using energy cost tracking and process system analysis, the assessment team first identified the mine's primary energy-consuming systems and identified those that have the greatest savings potential. Team members concentrated on potential projects that would pay for themselves in cost savings in less than one year.
They then proposed five energy efficiency projects that focused on improving the efficiency of the pumping system, capturing and using waste heat in the conveyor system, and upgrading lighting fixtures. For example, using DOE's Pumping System Assessment Tool software, they found several opportunities to save energy and money by replacing older pumps with premium-efficiency ones. Installing adjustable-speed drives on some new and existing pump motors would also save energy and reduce operating costs further.
These projects could save more than 10.8 million kWh of electricity annually, at an estimated cost savings of $813,000 per year. At a capital investment of around $260,000, the average simple payback for all five projects would be about 4 months.
Coeur Rochester, Inc., a subsidiary of Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation, is a worldwide producer of precious metals. The Coeur Rochester mine, which opened in 1986, is the company's largest producer as well as one of the largest primary silver mines in North America. It produces 60,000 ounces of gold and 6 million ounces of silver per year.
For more, see the case study (PDF 300 KB).