Analysis of the mining sector to preventive measures to avoid electricity rationing

Business Unions value the decision of the Ministry of Energy to establish a series of preventive measures, due to the current situation of the national electricity system, and the effects that this has on mining companies in terms of costs and supply.

This Wednesday the decree of the Ministry of Energy was published in the Official Gazette, which establishes a series of preventive measures to avoid electricity rationing, which will be in force until March 31, 2022, in order to “avoid, manage, reduce or overcome generation deficits that may occur in the National Electric System (SEN), thereby preserving security “.

“The measures mentioned will be aimed, mainly, at reducing the impacts of the deficit for users, at incentivizing and promoting the increase of generation capacity in the SEN, at stimulating or rewarding voluntary savings and at reducing the economic costs that said deficit may cause. to the country ”, it is indicated.

The measure is analyzed by the mining sector, due to the level of energy consumption of the extractive industry.

Necessary measure

“We consider it positive that the authority is already adopting preventive measures against possible electricity rationing. It is a decree that, from the mining point of view, we want to analyze with our associates before issuing a conclusive opinion ”, says Diego Hernández, president of the National Mining Society (Sonami).

The government’s decision is also addressed by Sergio Hernández, executive director of the Association of Industrial Mining Suppliers (Aprimin), who points out that “this preventive decree of electricity rationing is, in our opinion, unfortunately necessary and a logical consequence of the situation that we are experiencing due to the lack of rainfall ”.

“The system is very stressed, the diesel plants, which operate for emergencies, are operating at full capacity; marginal costs at night are very high, exceeding US $ 300 per MWh; while on the day that cost is US $ 50 MWh. Although this Decree is in force until March 31, 2022, we hope that the rains of these days can better supply water sources and that this rationing can end sooner, ”says the union leader.

Impacts on the mining operation

Eric Medel, an analyst at Plusmining, warns about the effects that the occurrence of power supply problems would have on the mining sector.

“The electrical energy consumed by the mining sector is almost a third of the total consumed in the country, so rationing is a complex situation,” he mentions, emphasizing that “the mining industry requires continuous electrical energy for its processes, so a supply cut could have a productive impact, although subject to the characteristics of this rationing, especially its duration ”.

Along with this, the specialist explains that “mining operations are relatively resilient, since they have gaps in operational planning that would make it possible to lessen the effects of a situation of this category. However, mining operations in Chile have, in general, pending progress in mine development derived from the impacts of the pandemic during 2020, so rationing could have a multiplying impact in the short and medium term ”.

Similarly, the analyst highlights that “currently 25% of mining consumption is supplied by clean energy, and this would reach more than 50% by 2023. This rationing reinforces the importance of moving more quickly to a more robust energy park and that at the same time maintains the trend towards lower emissions, a significant challenge for a developing country like Chile”.

Source: Minería Chilena

Translated with Google Translator