Optimising to address issues

An image of AES's projects division

SPECIALISED TEAM Operation and maintenance of a turnkey new boiler house installation executed by AES projects division

3rd November 2023

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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As mining operations contend with various industry challenges, operations and maintenance specialist Associated Energy Sources (AES) MD Chris Paterson points to energy plant optimisation and alternative energy solutions as techniques to mitigate operational challenges and facilitate growth amid industry pitfalls.

AES’s capabilities in technical solution development, project execution, and energy plant operations and maintenance enables clients to benefit from expertise throughout the entire energy solution lifecycle.

With a focus on risk mitigation, AES ensures cost-efficiency, maintenance cost management and the continuity of production for mining clients.

Paterson explains that significant challenges impacting the mining industry include skills shortages, inefficient plant operation, inappropriate asset care, cost management and issues with steam and energy supply.

In these instances, AES assists mines through optimising their plants by integrating various solutions.

Highlighting the full impacts of inadequately skilled staff, AES commercial director Dennis Williams explains that unskilled in-house staff often operate using incorrect approaches or techniques, which directly impacts business costs, owing to inefficient operations.

These unskilled operational activities can impact on the availability of the plant, resulting in steam and energy supply interruptions and plant downtime, which impacts negatively on a client’s profit margin, Williams elaborates.

To address this, AES provides and develops suitably trained operations and maintenance staff for deployment at mining operations.

In terms of efficient plant operation and asset care, Williams points out that steam and energy plants in particular, are costly investments that require skilled operation and maintenance to ensure their longevity and reliable performance.

Therefore, AES supports mines through providing the necessary systems and cost-effective expertise to manage efficient plant operations, while providing an availability guarantee on the plants that it operates.

“In this way, we stand behind our commitment to look after the plant and ensure uptime of operations,” says Paterson.

AES’s experience in the steam and energy industry includes expert knowledge of fuel procurement options, access to fuel sourcing and fuel quality management through the use of AES’s in-house laboratory.

Further, AES provides substantial fuel offtake and relationship management across the full spectrum of procurement from fuel sourcing, distribution and the transporting thereof, to the point-of-use, he highlights.

Solutions According to Specifications
AES can assist clients by taking over their energy plant management through a fully outsourced steam and energy contract, thereby ensuring that AES carries full responsibility for the generation and supply of steam and energy to the client according to the client’s specifications. These specifications include the quality, availability and price per unit of steam or energy.

Alternatively, AES also offers total turnkey solutions through a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model.

As part of the BOOT solution, a client’s energy plant and equipment are funded by AES, which over time, are transferred to become the client’s assets, in accordance with an agreement reached between the two parties at the start of the project and dictated by timeframes and payoff periods.

Going forward, Williams anticipates that the BOOT model will, increasingly, gain popularity as clients look to recapitalise and reinvest in their assets and operations.

AES’s role includes applying management systems, operational practices, and expertise to provide cost-effective, environment-friendly, and reliable steam and energy to clients.


Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer




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