Monday, January 18, 2016

Rental Power Plants: Providing Reliable Electricity to the Mining Industry

A persistent shortage and instability in the supply of power around the world, in some instances for reasons beyond any party’s control, has pushed many countries and mining operators to agree to reduce power supply to mining sites. The electricity supply insufficiency and the consequent load shedding, on top of increasing overhead costs and continuously weakening commodity prices, have driven mining companies in different regions to scale down or suspend operations altogether.

“Some parts of mining operations will be halted or scaled back to cope with the regular power cuts,” say an industry player. “Electricity,” he adds, “is not only utilized in the actual mining and processing, but also in maintenance. So, we are particularly preoccupied about our old underground mines, because there power is an exceedingly high overhead cost.” He believes that with the way things are going at the present, the immediate solution to save the business is to lay off workers, by the thousands.

Some entities have tried surmounting the challenge by importing power from their neighboring countries. But while it is not a guarantee of a continuous power supply, introducing power from other countries have led to an increased cost of running mining operations, owing to higher electricity prices.

Some operators have installed local power generation systems to support the supply of electricity to the mining sites, but their power production is not always enough to run the energy-intensive processes of a large-scale mining operations, including exploration, production, and climate control.

In times of persistent power shortage, mining companies will find hiring the services of temporary power providers beneficial to their operations. It is undeniable that electricity plays an essential role in mining operations, and renting large-scale power plants can guarantee a constant supply of reliable power to mining sites, without the need to spend scarce CAPEX in building permanent power facilities. In these difficult times for the industry, mining companies will appreciate the fact that they can pay for the electricity produced by hired power plants from their operating revenues. Mining companies can also choose to add power modules to the rental power plants as their operations expand and their requirement for electricity increase.

Rental power plants are not only reliable, they are fuel efficient and have less impact on the environment. Modern rental generators boast of cleaner operations, being able to run on a variety of fuels, including natural gas or a combination of gas and diesel. Studies conducted in different rental power plants sites around the world show that temporary power stations, like those running on natural gas, can surpass the worldwide NOx emission requirements, emitting only 250 mg/Nm3 even without after treatment.

The present times have not been favorable to the mining industry. Mining companies, established and start-ups alike, are struggling to maintain a profitable production, and this has resulted in job loss and limited expenditure. A reliable and consistent supply of electricity is one key solution to the survival and development of mining operations against the backdrop of these trying times, and rental power plants represent a technology that can guarantee just that.


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Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Story of SALt: Sustainable Alternative Lighting

Up to this day, there is still a considerable number of people living in the Philippines that do not have access to reliable electricity. Being an archipelago, the Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, most of which are home to people still using candles, kerosene lamps and expensive battery powered lanterns as their primary source of lighting.

In the hope of alleviating the situation of their countrymen, a group of Filipinos, led by Engr Aisa Mijeno, invented a lamp that runs on just one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt. The inventors say that the lamp, aptly called SALt, can work for up to eight hours, and has a lifespan of approximately six months. When used for less hours, the lamp can last up to more than a year.

SALt can also run on ocean water, which will be particularly beneficial to people living along the coastline.   

The inventors explain that there are no materials or components inside the lamp that may cause fire accidents – in contrast with kerosene lamps and candles that are hazardous and risky to health. “SALt,” explained the inventors, “uses the science behind the Galvanic cell, which is the basis for battery-making. It changes the electrolytes to a non-toxic, saline solution, making the entire process safe and harmless.”

As an added feature, the lamp doubles up as an emergency charger for mobile phones. With the Philippines being the 3rd most disaster prone area in the world, it is highly essential for its residents to have a steady supply of food, drinking water, sustainable lighting and a stable means of communication during times of calamities. 

Interacting with US President Barack Obama and Alibaba Founder Jack Ma

From the ripples that SALt had been organically creating in the islands of the Philippines, it created a huge wave in an international convention of world leaders.

During the recently concluded APEC Summit in the Philippines, Engr Mijeno had the privilege of sitting in the same plenary session as US President Obama and Chinese billionaire, Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Mijeno said that it was the White House who invited her to join the session, spurred by its interest to know more about SALt. "We received a call from the White House," said Engr Mijeno, "which at first we thought was a prank call." She said she was invited to the session to represent female entrepreneurs and to talk to President Obama about start-up ventures in the Philippines that the US government could support.  

During the dialogue with Obama, Mijeno took the chance to solicit support from the US President. The SALt inventor also revealed that Jack Ma also offered assistance, not divulging any details.

For more information on the lamp, visit:


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Tel: +971 56 1749505