Pioneering energy-efficient fan technology in South Africa
Gold Fields deep-level mines in South Africa consume significant amounts of electricity due to their substantial
ventilation, refrigeration and pumping requirements. Electricity consumption, which accounts for 95% of energy
usage in the region – amounted to an average of 526MW in 2011. In a context of significant electricity tariff rises
in South Africa, as well as potential carbon regulation, Gold Fields is making every effort to reduce its
consumption. This includes a major, R200 million (US$28 million) project – 80% of which is financed by Eskom’s
Demand Side Management (DSM) programme – for the fitting of 1,000 high-efficiency fan units at KDC, South
Deep and Beatrix.
These 32kW units will replace the existing 45kW units and will consume 30% less electricity. The rolling out of
these state-of-the-art fans follows the successful piloting of 10 units at KDC. Collectively, the new fans are
expected to save 13MW a year. This will translate into cost savings of around R67 million (US$9 million) a year. “This means the project will pay itself off in less than six months,” says Jan du Plessis, Group Environmental
Engineer. In addition, Gold Fields is exploring opportunities to earn carbon credits for its investment in the
development of this entirely new, energy-saving technology.
A second DSM initiative during 2011 saw 23 fan stations at KDC fitted with upgraded and automated inlet guide
vanes, which shifted 30MW out of peak periods and saved around R7 million
(US$970,000 million) last year.