Dominion Diamond recognizes the impact that climate change is having on the northern landscape. We are focused on taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve energy efficiency, as we work to protect the northern environment and be a responsible partner with the communities.
The Ekati mine has developed a formal energy management system that includes a steering committee, efficiency projects, an awareness campaign, and energy use tracking and reporting. The system is structured on the recommendations of Natural Resources Canada, which is also helping us develop a new energy management information system.
The Energy Management Steering Committee has representatives from the environment, maintenance, infrastructure, business improvement, electrical services, facilities, and process departments. Its goal is to ensure that effective and efficient energy use remains part of the way Dominion Diamond does business. Each department is expected to identify at least one energy efficiency project in its area, working towards a collective goal of reducing GHG emissions by at least 500 tonnes of CO2e in fiscal 2017.
The committee meets regularly to assess the progress of energy efficiency projects and review the energy conservation ideas submitted by our workforce. There is a dedicated SharePoint page for the energy management system, which can be accessed by all employees to track energy savings progress.
Twenty-four priority efficiency projects have been identified, and work is underway on many of them. Here are some examples:
Industrial composting unit – Dominion Diamond was the first northern mine to start composting a significant portion of waste when an industrial composting unit was brought online. The composter provides a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective method for organic waste disposal. This single initiative could reduce diesel consumption at the mine by 250,000 litres every year and prevent up to 680 tonnes of GHG emissions from entering the atmosphere. Organic material spends nine to ten days in the unit, turning once per hour, before emerging as safe, odour-free, and nutrient-rich material. This material is then laid out in a fenced-off designated area for up to one year before being used for remediation.
Truck efficiency – We introduced road trains, which involve multiple trailers carrying ore pulled by a combination of a road haulage tractor and a powered trailer, thereby improving efficiency and reducing emissions. The trains are significant contributors to lowering our GHG emissions.
Alternative energy – We plan to conduct a concept study of additional potential investments in alternative energy, including wind and solar energy. The company committed to presenting a summary of results of the concept study to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board within one year of the Report of Environmental Assessment of the Jay Project, which was issued on February 1, 2016. Dominion Diamond also paid 40% of the cost of the wind farm at the Diavik Diamond Mine, of which Dominion Diamond is a 40% owner.
Panda mine ventilation – By reducing the speed of the fan feeding fresh air into the Panda underground mine in the winter months, in line with mining activity, we save approximately one million litres of diesel fuel annually. The fan is operated by a variable frequency drive and because air flow in Panda is higher in winter and lower in summer, the fan speed can be safely reduced to deliver energy and cost savings.
Main camp LED project – Approximately 4,000 fluorescent lighting tubes were replaced with LED lighting in the main camp. The replacement tubes provide the same or better lighting while using less energy and lasting longer. Energy savings from the project reduce diesel fuel consumption by 165,932 litres per year.
In 2015, Ekati mine site-wide energy consumption declined by 4.5% compared to 2014 performance. However, GHG emissions increased slightly by 8.5%, primarily due to increased surface mining at Lynx and Misery and winter drilling at Sable, which was expected.
During the year, we also ran an engaging employee awareness campaign to spread the word that simple behavioural changes can lead to reductions in energy consumption and environmental impact. The campaigns generated numerous employee suggestions, including a high-impact idea to install timer switches in all main camp bathrooms, which was subsequently implemented. The change helps with fire prevention by stopping fans automatically, and reduces energy consumption.