While Anglo American iron ore company Kumba Iron Ore has already instituted numerous energy saving technologies and programmes at its operations, it remains focused on lowering its energy consumption and carbon footprint even further.

Kumba has embarked on a process to find additional energy saving opportunities at Sishen,which resulted in a total of 31 “feasible” additional opportunities that will be investigated further and implemented where possible to help Sishen achieve diesel and electricity savings. Kumba has 74 energy efficiency initiatives in development for possible implementation between its Sishen, Kolomela and Thabazimbi mines.

The energy efficiency initiatives cover the following areas and technologies:

  • energy efficient water heating, lighting, and HVAC
  • high efficiency motors
  • process optimisation and automation (comminution)
  • diesel management (operational efficiency, drilling and blasting, mine design and payload)
  • conveyor optimisation (variable speed drives)
  • compressed air (leak detection and variable speed drives)
  • pumping optimisation
  • energy recovery
  • metering/monitoring
  • energy efficient plant design
The company is also realigning its energy management programme to meet Anglo American’s revised requirements. The new programme is used to develop “bottom-up” site energy and carbon targets, and is called ECO2MAN (Energy and carbon dioxide management).

 Renewable energy

Kumba has procured the services of specialised service providers to develop a Clean Development Mechanism design document for a renewable energy project in the Northern Cape. The project is still in development stage and a final implementation decision has not yet been taken. Kumba aims to participate in the third round of Eskom’s renewable energy independent power producer bids to have the project included in South Africa’s renewable energy procurement plan.


Activity typeDescription of activity
Transportation: useKumba implemented a Diesel Energy Efficiency Management System (DEEMS) at Sishen, which involves analysis of loading and haul truck fuel performance through parameters such as lift and haul distance. Enables the capturing and tracking of operational interventions and improvement initiatives, resulting in fuel saving.
ProcessAt Sishen mine the dust management system was changed from a dust extraction system to a dust suppression system. The dust suppression system makes use of a fine mist water spray with chemicals added, and operates using much smaller motors. This resulted in electrical energy saving and reduction in maximum demand.
ProcessA change ofelectro-mechanical feeders to brute force feeders resulted in an electrical energy saving.
Energy efficiency: building servicesKumba installed solar water heaters on the change houses at Sishen mine, on Sishen mine houses in town and the Sesheng hostels.
Energy efficiency: building servicesAt Kolomela mine, energy efficient water heating (heat pump), ventilation and air conditioning systems were installed as part of the mine design.In addition, energy efficient lighting, making use of electronic ballast was implemented, as well as motion sensors on the lights.
Energy efficiency: building servicesKumba installed heat pumps and improved insulation at change houses in Thabazimbi, which resulted in a decrease in electricity consumption.
ProcessProcess improvements at Kolomela mine increased energy efficiency at the mine. Energy efficiency measures implemented during plant design include the removal of fluid coupling and use of electronic soft starts on pumping loads, and use of variable-speed drives to improve energy performance.
Energy efficiency: building servicesElectrical infrastructure improvements implemented at Kolomelamine includes the installation of bigger cables to reduce technical losses.
Energy efficiency: processesOnly high-efficiency motors were installed to reduce electricity consumption at Kolomela.
Energy efficiency: building servicesSolar water heaters were installed on houses at Kolomela.
Energy efficiencyThe soft-starters on Kolomela borehole pumps were replaced with variable-speed drives (VSDs). This allowed the motors to draw almost half the load current than that of soft-starter driven motors.

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