Schneider Electric and Wärtsilä, a global supplier of smart technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets, have partnered to create a more sustainable, uninterrupted power solution for remote lithium mines. The fit-for-purpose power system includes tailored power supply consulting and design, power infrastructure build, equipment delivery, installation, digital microgrids operation, and commissioning available to mining operators located globally. The Schneider Electric and Wärtsilä solution, developed from over 20 years of collaboration on over 200 projects, helps to optimize a more efficient delivery and use of energy. It helps to unify and leverage microgrids, thermal power generation, energy storage, and other renewable energy sources to provide a more cost-effective power solution with a more minimal environmental footprint for the mining industry.
Based on pilot projects, typical results include:
- An average overall CapEx reduction of 27 percent
- A CO2 emissions reduction of up to 20 percent, or about 18,500 tons per year per mine
- An energy cost reduction of about 40 percent when switching to the joint Schneider Electric - Wärtsilä solution from local off-grid diesel-generated power
The design concept of the project helps to extend to the lifecycle of the mine, delivering and provisioning for the most optimum level of power to enable a mine’s productivity. As a result, operational costs are reduced and power availability is better optimized to reach a mine’s production targets. Predictability of parts, power supply and maintenance costs help to reduce the need for working capital within the 24/7 cycle. This solution is suited for new mines that are currently being designed and also for mining project conversions. In particular, Argentina has a significant lithium mining potential in the next five years as sustainable uninterrupted power becomes available.
Schneider Electric and Wärtsilä signed the framework co-operation agreement for the development of the design for mining energy solutions in March 2020. The companies aim to further optimize customer benefits in mining projects by offering solutions based on mutually complementary technologies.