New Wisdom Investment Limited

Reduce Fuel Costs at a Mine Site

5 Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs at a Mine Site

In the current climate of low commodity prices, many mining companies are under increasing pressure to reduce operating costs. The most obvious way to cut costs on fuel is to look for price reductions, but with the competitive nature of supplying to mines there is most probably very little margin left to "squeeze" out of the suppliers.

There have also been some exciting technological advances in recent years with fuel economy improvements being realized through improved engine design, turbo chargers, Electronic Fuel Injection etc.

Assuming that you have the best price you can get from the suppliers and the most economical equipment for your site, there are few other areas you can look at to reduce fuel costs and fuel consumption in your mining operations.

Below you will find five suggestions on how to further reduce your overall fuel consumption.

1. Use lighter viscosity engine oil
The development and shift to lighter grade SAE 10w30, and SAE 5w30 oils in favour of SAE 15w40 grade engines oils plays a significant role in reducing fuel consumption. The lower viscosity oil effectively means reduced friction under hydrodynamic conditions within the engine. Less friction means less fuel consumption.

TOTAL's range of FE lubricants play an essential role in reducing the operating fuel costs for mining companies by utilizing specific viscosity grades and specially enhanced additives designed to minimize the friction responsible for 10-15% of energy loss within an engine and drive train compartments.

2. Make sure your hydraulic fluid is of high quality
High quality, high Viscosity Index (VI), multi-grade hydraulic fluids work by reducing hydraulic leakage of the hydraulic pump through the broader operating temperature range. This means that at higher operating temperatures the viscosity of the lubricant is not as thin when compared to a lower VI mono grade hydraulic oil of similar viscosity. This equates to less engine power needed, (and less fuel), to deliver the required fluid power to the working parts of the hydraulic system under operating conditions. Following similar principles, higher equipment productivity is also realized.

3. Improve your fuel cleanliness
Particulate contamination of diesel fuel due to in-efficient housekeeping practices has the propensity to reduce filter life, diminish fuel life and cause component failures.
The unwanted particulates in diesel fuel can serve to increase fuel pump wear. In addition, due to the high fuel pressures, these particulates can act as a projectile within the fuel system leading to increased injector nozzle wear and reduced combustion efficiency, which in turn results in increased fuel consumption. Improvements in fuel cleanliness will also improve fuel pump and injector life (reduced maintenance costs).

4. Use Total Excellium (fuel additive)
Many diesel fuel researchers conclude that there is benefit from the use of chemical related supplementary fuel additives.
TOTAL Excellium diesel fuel does not increase the combustion efficiency of the fuel during the combustion process but rather prevents (and even reduces) the formation of carbonaceous deposits at the injector nozzle tip which in turn helps optimise the combustion process.
This is where fuel savings are then realized. TOTAL Excellium diesel fuel enables optimum performance of the combustion process within the engine to be sustained.

5. Other cost saving ideas
There are other energy and cost reduction projects to consider the likes of which include but not limited to:

  • Periodic bench mark testing or requests for tenders from fuel suppliers
  • Lubricant rationalisation programs and consideration to reducing inventory levels
  • Use of a Fuel Management System to help identify in-appropriate use of diesel fuel on site
  • As your supplier to perform oil drains extention programmes
  • Use energy efficient lubricants