Manantial Espejo: from isolation and high costs to energetic efficiency
Case Study: Galileo implements its Virtual Pipeline® in the generation of electricity for gold and silver mining in Argentine Patagonia.
An important aspect to consider in the mining industry is the high cost of electricity generation to meet the high demands of energy consumption; the operation of equipments for mineral processing, the lighting and signaling of tunnels and open areas, as well as the workers’ living conditions are all factors that call for the generation of electricity on-site.
This cost has two dimensions. First, even though power generation is not their core business, mines must produce their own energy. Second, diesel is used to propel these plants. This involves the use of an expensive fuel which has the additional cost of long distance transportation. Moreover, the use of this fuel has an undeniable negative impact on the environment.
In 2010, Minera Tritón, a subsidiary of Pan American Silver, faced a situation identical to that described above in the “Manantial Espejo” mine, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. With a sustained daily requirement of 6 MW of electric power at medium voltage, a significant reduction in operating costs was crucial to replace costly diesel supply with a cheaper alternative.
The solution was provided by Virtual Gas Net Company, which involved the adoption of the Virtual Pipeline – the natural gas transport system developed by Galileo.