Mining and remote locations are looking like the most promising market opportunity for solar thermal technologies, particularly given the excess capacity on the main grid, the reluctance of utilities to commit to power purchase agreements, and large water requirements.
How SolarBeam Can Provide Clean Water for Mining
Mining operations use water for mineral processing and metal recovery, controlling dust, and meeting the needs of workers on site. The amount of water required by a mine varies depending on its size, the mineral being extracted, and the extraction process used.
Adequate mining water supply is critical for ensuring operation and growth of the mining industry. Ground and surface water sources have been extensively utilized for mining in the past and are proving to be insufficient to meet the growing demands of this industry.
There are usually conflicts between residents and the mines when it comes to water access.
As a result, desalination is being increasingly considered as a feasible solution to the water supply challenge.
To see how the SolarBeam can be used in solar desalination, please click this link.
Thermal Heat Usage in Mining
Major energy sources for the U.S. mining industry are petroleum products, electricity (purchased and produced onsite), coal, and natural gas. Diesel fuel accounts for 34% of the U.S. mining industry’s fuel needs, followed by onsite electricity at 32%, natural gas at 22%, and coal and gasoline supplying the balance.
SolarBeam can provide the heating requirements and offset the cost of natural gas and diesel.
SolarBeam for Copper Mining
In copper mining, water is fundamentally used in the traditional flotation beneficiation process, in smelting and electro refining or in the hydro-metallurgical process, which consists of leaching, solvent extraction and electro winning.
The water temperature for this type of extraction is approximately 60 Celsius.
How SolarBeam Can Save Money for Copper Mines
A 10 MW SolarBeam thermal plant will replace diesel heaters that have an annual consumption of 8,000 cubic meters for an annual production of 120,000 tonnes of copper.
A 10 MW plant can substitute more than 55 % of the diesel fuel currently used in the solution heating process for the copper electro-extraction process in the mining production
The solar plant will deliver heat around the clock by using thermal energy storage, ideal for the mining industry and industries with similar energy needs. The use of solar energy will reduce CO2 emissions by about 10,000 tons per year.