With many mining operations located in remote areas, operators must find a balance between price and reliability. While outages can cause costly downtimes, nobody wants to pay over the odds for energy supply, David Fatzinger, General Manager of Latin America for InterGen, told Mexico Mining Forum 2018 at the Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City on Wednesday. He added that the Energy Reform has opened many more opportunities for miners to demand – or even generate – better services.
“In the energy industry it is important to note that pricing is key,” Fatzinger said. “But Mexico has introduced a mining system that causes congestion, which means the proximity of the energy supply greatly affects efficiency.”
Intergen is a company that can supply customers through every modality available in Mexico, whether through cogeneration, renewable energies or combined cycle, Fatzinger said. While it only recently began venturing into solar power, he said diversification of power sources is vital. “Much like the mining industry, energy is very much cyclical and tends to work over periods of five to seven years. Over this time, different sources are more effective and more efficient, so we ensure we work across a variety.”
Intergen can provide short- or long-term contracts, indexed to a CFE tariff, to the wholesale energy market, or for a fixed price over a long time, said Fatzinger. “We already have all these projects in our portfolio and have been supplying industrial customers in Mexico for over 15 years.” In fact, Intergen signed a long-term supply contract with Canadian operator Goldcorp and built it a bespoke power plant at Peñasquito. “Goldcorp is growing its business and we are expanding to not only increase its energy availability but also enhance the quality of supply,” he said.
Fatzinger added that supplying one of the biggest mines in the country was a learning experience. “We began to develop products that we believe resonate with the rest of the industry, even going down to smaller users,” he explained. With the energy industry still evolving under the reform and many companies unsure about their footing, Fatzinger said Intergen offers its 20-year experience in Mexico to help negotiate the still-turbulent waters.