Mining Week: Gibraltar improves environment and economic performance

Since 2004 Taseko-Gibraltar has made multiple energy and fuel saving efforts by reducing idling of machines and upgrading engines. - Photo submitted
Since 2004 Taseko-Gibraltar has made multiple energy and fuel saving efforts by reducing idling of machines and upgrading engines.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Dave Rouleau

Mining Week 2014

BC Mining Week is an opportunity for the people and communities throughout B.C. to recognize the importance of the mining industry, one of the largest and oldest industries in our province.

During this week we celebrate people, communities, and companies that make the industry successful.   Collectively, those working directly in the industry strive to make B.C. an economic and sustainable resource-based province, of which we can all be proud.

At Taseko-Gibraltar, we believe a successful balance of economic development and environmental stewardship is something to celebrate and strive for year round.

Together, our 700 employees of which 98 per cent of are based in the Cariboo, contribute to the sustainability of our company through their innovation, forward thinking, and drive for success.

Since restarting in 2004, Taseko-Gibraltar has undergone a multi-phase revitalization program, taking an old outdated mine and investing significantly into its modernization to the point where it has now become a leading state-of-the-art mining facility.

While the overarching goal of the initiative was to increase Gibraltar’s production capacity, savings in terms of energy usage and fuel consumption provide lasting economic and environmental benefit contributing to the company’s long term sustainability.  Since 2004, when our reporting process began, Taseko-Gibraltar has dramatically reduced energy consumption by approximately 386,210,874 kilowatt hours, worth an estimated $20 million dollars in savings.

Energy and fuel savings highlights include:

• The company invested $40 million on a new electrically powered in-pit crusher and conveyor system. It is estimated the new crusher reduced two haul trucks from the fleet of vehicles at the mine, thereby eliminating their greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.

• The implementation of the idling mobile equipment guidelines, calls for shutting down of machinery if unattended. This reduces diesel fuel consumption, air emissions, and hours of engine wear. Senior management has been promoting this initiative in the field with all operators, just as they do with safety at the mine site.

In addition, more accurate measurements, along with targets, are being developed to better track this initiative.

• Upgraded Gibraltar’s Komatsu 930E fleet 300 ton haul trucks with Cummins engines to the Tier 2 engine improved emissions controls with three units changed out during 2013 and the last truck before April 2014, thus saving 219,331 litres of diesel and reducing emissions by 599,000 kg of greenhouse gas CO2 equivalent per year.

• Devised a system to reduce the use of explosives in the open pit mine which focused on reducing powder factors and maximizing drill yields. With diesel fuel as one of the primary components of the bulk explosives used at the Gibraltar Mine, these initiatives have led to a reduction in diesel fuel consumed for blasting by 253,986 litres of diesel during 2013 and reduced emissions by 1,499,490 Kg of greenhouse gas CO2 equivalent

• Installed solar panels and wind generators for the radio repeaters that replace diesel generators

• In 2004 an employee bus program was implemented, reducing the number of commuter vehicles and thereby decreasing road traffic and greenhouse emissions.

• Since 2008, when waste management monitoring began, 11,145,851 of waste oil, 5494 tires, 22,229 batteries, 3894 tons of scrap metal have been recycled. We understand our legacy as a company is not only in the jobs and opportunities we provide, the families we support and the communities we strengthen.

It can also be measured by the economic and environmental improvements we can achieve through our relentless pursuit of the new technical and scientific discovery and its application.

Dave Rouleau is the VP of Operations for Taseko Mines and also the Gibraltar Mine manager.


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