B.C.'s mining industry can save vast amounts of energy. To help make it happen, the BC Mining Association partners with Power Smart.

The BC Mining Association’s partnership with Power Smart has led to energy savings and underlines its commitment to the environment.

Operational efficiency – the keystone of energy savings – is crucial in the mining sector, not only because mining is B.C.’s second largest industrial consumer of electricity, but also because it helps companies weather market ups and downs.

Ben Chalmers, vice president, environmental and technical affairs for the Mining Association of BC points out, “Companies are always looking for more ways to reduce their bottom line costs. That was one of the reasons why we signed a memorandum of understanding with BC Hydro three years ago.”

A BC Hydro study, the Conservation Potential Review, determined that the mining sector could potentially achieve 400 gigawatt hours in savings, and both it and the Mining Association identified six key areas where savings could be made. “We also worked with Power Smart and the B.C. mines to establish a program for having energy managers at mine sites who are responsible for running baseline projects and monitoring energy use,” says Chalmers. “So far we have seven in different locations throughout the province.”

With the Mining Association’s participation, Power Smart has developed a protocol for All Fuels Baseline Audit determination, which has been piloted at Walter Energy-Western Coal’s Wolverine Mine and Thompson Creek Endako Mines. Meanwhile, the Copper Mountain and New Gold mines are examples of new mines whose design is rooted in energy efficiency.

Chalmers urges mining companies to contact BC Hydro and learn about participating in the Industrial Power Smart Program: “Our industry underwent extensive modernization over the last couple of decades, but there’s still a lot we can achieve to reduce our energy consumption and demonstrate our commitment to mine responsibly to the public.”