Fuel Management at Altitude

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Challenges in the mining industry are common. When these challenges occur at altitude, they require tactical thinking and smart solutions. At altitude oxygen is rare and temperatures are low. Anyone who has experienced high-altitude conditions knows the feeling – the air is thin, and breathing is difficult. People start to experience breathing difficulties at 1,500 meters above sea level. The highest mines in the world operate above 3,000 meters.

This environment can take its toll on workers and the equipment they operate. The low oxygen levels cause work fatigue and equipment power loss. Constant low temperatures create operating and equipment functionality challenges. Hydrocarbons such as diesel, petrol, coolant, oils, and hydraulic fluids can be severely influenced and must often be replaced by condition-specific products. This makes automated fuel management quite tough and particularly important. Let’s take a closer look at an example.

The Letšeng Diamond Mine, found in the landlocked Southern African kingdom of Lesotho, is at an elevation of 3,100 m (10,000 ft) and is the world’s highest diamond mine. The mine utilizes a mixed fleet comprising CAT 385C and CAT 390D excavators, together with CAT 777 rigid dump trucks for hauling waste and CAT 745 articulated dump trucks for hauling ore. Approximately 7 million tons of ore and 20 million tons of waste are mined per annum. Average temperatures range from -5°C to 20°C and snowfalls occurs in 9 months of the year.

For over 15 years the PetroMan automated Fuel Management System (FMS) has successfully managed the storage, decanting, dispensing and usage of several hydrocarbons, including diesel, at Letšeng Diamond Mine. The FMS interfaces with the mine’s ERP system and accuracies are constantly well above 99%. “The lower equipment performance caused by the conditions means that accurate usage monitoring and preventative maintenance scheduling are vital to sustaining productivity levels. We are pleased that the PetroMan FMS continues to cope well with these conditions and deliver an accurate, real-time fuel management service to the mine,” says Deon Mostert, Business Development Manager at PetroMan SA.

PetroMan SA has made it their purpose to develop world-class hydrocarbon management systems that are both cost-effective and user-friendly. As an OEM, PetroMan SA markets its unique fuel management solutions under the PetroMan® brand, providing meticulous, real-time, measuring, and reporting that allows clients to intricately control hydrocarbon quality and usage. PetroMan SA continually develops and implements robust and up-to-date hardware and software platforms and has supplied FMS solutions to the mining sector, across Africa, since the 1990s.

For world-class fuel management solutions in mining visit www.petroman.global

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