Observations on AME Roundup 2019 – BC Copper Advantage

AME Roundup 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), finished on 31 January 2019, and here are my observations about some of the events, presented in 5 posts over this week.

1. The BC Copper Advantage, Jan. 29, 2019

Electrical framework for Mining in British Columbia – BC Hydro

Map of the Northwest Transmission Line and Iskut extension (Source: BC Hydro)

Sam Jones, Manager, Customer Interconnections and Policy and Gordon Grey, Senior Account Manager and Mining Sector Lead, spoke about the tax breaks and processes involved in getting a Mining project connected to the BC Hydro electrical grid. They referred specifically to interconnection to the Northwest Transmission Line which runs from Skeena to Red Chris Mine in the North, and the Iskut Extension. This electricity infrastructure is partially financed by, and built for, BC mines and are a lifeline for remote communities.

Once a process plant is connected to a substation, the client (mine owner) builds and operates the transmission line connected to the BC Hydro grid, as well as any extensions to this transmission line. The client pays for the transmission line build as well as the system reinforcement, but once it is being operated, the transmission line can be turned over to BC Hydro for operation and maintenance – since transmission lines are not the core business of mining companies. The client, in return for having tied into the BC Hydro network and generating their own power, receives rebates  and a revenue offset.

This specifically involves Tariff Supplement (TS) No. 37 of 2017 and the Northwest Transmission Line (NWTL), and mine loads and generator loads of over 5 MW. This is an additional tariff to TS No. 6, and it yet to accommodate the Iskut Extension to the NWTL. According to BC Hydro “the TS 6 offset rebates new customers for some or all system reinforcement costs based on a more expansive definition of revenue than costs.” What Jones and Grey wanted to bring across was that there are very recent updates to the tariff supplements, rebates and processes involved, and that the onus is on the Electrical Engineers working on projects to come and talk to them. They repeated this message over and over:

“Come and talk to us early. Interconnection is a lengthy process. We don’t know what we need to do until you come and talk to us. Coming to talk to us is key.”

Roundup in general

While in general, the mood at Roundup was upbeat, with the usual cordial meetings-and-greetings going on, the organizers should have made better arrangements when they had a First Nations group set up tent in the exhibition hall and have singing and drumming events. The sound was amplified and it was intrusive, making it almost impossible to hear and concentrate on the speakers at the “Innovation Hub” which was located at the north end of the exhibition hall. The Innovation Hub stage was only partially screened off from the hall. The drumming and singing was so loud I could feel the sound reverberating through the seat of my chair. Even the speakers were distracted as they watched delegates getting up to see what was going on. For a pricey event, this lack of forethought is simply unacceptable.


Next: Mining Methods and Sorting Systems to upgrade BC Porphyry Mines – UBC

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