Tahoe Canada is being recognized as a mining industry leader in promoting energy conservation at its Timmins operations.
The company--previously Lake Shore Gold--operates the Timmins West and Bell Creek underground gold mines, along with the Bell Creek mill, located roughly 20 kilometres northeast of Timmins.
Tahoe hired Bruce Armitage in 2017 as its full-time energy manager with a goal to reduce its energy consumption. Now, the company is on track to save $11.95 million through a suite of energy-saving initiatives under its Digging Energy program.
Armitage said the program aims to raise awareness amongst employees about the challenges associated with mining.
Its logo--comprised of a headframe, a leaf and an electricity plug--represents the "struggle, understanding and acceptance that, as a mine advances, it will inevitably require more energy and resources, such as ventilation, dewatering, and compressed air, to extract our reserves," he said.
At the core of Digging Energy is an incentive program that rewards workers, including employees, students and contractors, for coming up with ideas to save on energy across operations.
People who submit valid suggestions through the program have their names entered into a monthly draw for gift certificates, and the crew that tallies the most energy savings in a year is treated to a pizza lunch.
At year's end, one worker is awarded the grand prize of having their electricity bill paid by the company.
Armitage has committed to personally responding to every submitted suggestion, each one tracked on a spreadsheet and reviewed by senior management. He then writes and hand delivers a letter of appreciation to the worker who suggested it.
Since the program's launch, the company has received close to 150 suggestions, a number of which have been carried out, or are in the process of being implemented.
One of the most successful has saved 6,900 megawatt-hours (MW) at the Bell Creek mill.
Inspecting the mill's system during monthly downtime, staff found that its grates were getting plugged, causing slurry pooling and reducing the amount of attrition grinding, Armitage said. By just cleaning the grates and optimizing some additional internal designs, Tahoe was able to substantially boost the mill's efficiency.
"We saved over 30 per cent in energy just making the internal changes into our milling than what we previously did, and that allowed us the capability of increasing the tonnage and the throughput,"...