Mining White Paper Series: Sustainability & Optimized Power Systems

July 1, 2021

Primer: Recommended Power System Design for Mid-Size Iron Ore Mines

Traditionally, mining power systems have been designed by engineering companies (EPCs) and/or mining end-users applying their industrial process knowledge and their experience from previous projects. This results in robust installations that are often not optimized for cost and footprint because the electrical design process focuses on individual packages rather than considering the whole system. This guide will provide a concrete example of optimization that could be achieved when the end-user, EPC, and manufacturer work together at an early stage of the project.

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#1: Network Architecture for Optimized Mining Power System

The choice of power system network architecture and MV distribution voltage have a major impact in the total cost of mining power systems and the availability of electrical power supply. To optimize the power system total cost and its impact on availability, different options need to be evaluated. This paper gives recommendations for electrical network architecture optimization, illustrated by a case study of a mid-size iron ore mine.

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#2: Power transformers for optimized mining power systems

The choice of HV/MV transformer short circuit impedance and MV distribution voltage have a major impact on the total cost of mining power systems. Optimized values depend on constraints imposed by starting large MV motors that can often generate unacceptable voltage drops and harmonic distortion. This white paper provides guidance on how to select HV/MV transformer specification, MV voltage level, and MV motor starting method to minimize the power system TCO.

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#3: MV switchgear for mining power system applications - IEC vs ANSI

MV switchgear is a key component of mining power systems as any failure results in loss of production. This paper describes the IEC and ANSI/NEMA standards, MV switchgear types, and technologies used in typical designs for each of the standards. It analyses the advantages and disadvantages of each MV switchgear type for the main applications found in mining power systems. Download to learn practical advice and recommendations to EPCs and mining end users involved in power system design.

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#4: Recommended Power Generation and Electrical Distribution for High Altitude Lithium Mine

The choice of the power generation and electrical network architecture has a major impact on the total cost of mining power systems and the availability of an electrical power supply. To optimize the power system’s total cost and its impact on availability, different options taking into consideration the effect of altitude, need to be evaluated. This paper outlines recommendations for establishing an optimized flexible power generation and electrical network architecture, illustrated by a case study of a lithium mine located at a high altitude. It was developed in partnership with our partner, Wärtsilä, and tackles sustainability from 2 angles: a solution that helps produce lithium more sustainably, and the fact that lithium is key material for EV.

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