Automatic compressed air control reduces energy consumption

In 2016, AngloGold Ashanti’s Vaal River mine won the ‘Project of the Year’ award from the South African Association for Energy Efficiency for its Vaal River Compressor Real-time Dynamic Control System (REMS-DCS).

The Vaal River mining complex consumes 250 megawatt hours (MWh) per day for the supply of compressed air. The intricate network consists of 37MW of installed compressors along a 27km surface piping network, with multiple users situated on the surface and underground. To reduce energy consumption, and thereby reduce its carbon footprint by 4,400 tons of CO2 per annum, AngloGold Ashanti implemented a real-time dynamic control system (REMS-DCS) to optimise and automate its compressor controls.

The project achieved an energy reduction of 1.65MW during the evening peak period and realised an annual saving of approximately US$140,000, although the total savings from multiple parallel projects on compressed air efficiency amount to almost twice this sum.

Full automatic compressed air control on this magnitude has never previously been achieved in the mining environment.