Mining for Energy Savings: Engaging Staff in Energy Management in the British Columbia Mining Sector

Using New Gold New Afton Mine and Teck Highland Valley Copper as case studies, this paper will share each mine’s journey, including results and lessons learned, to empower and engage staff to conserve energy and promote a more sustainable future.

Published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) as part of the 2019 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry.


The mining sector in British Columbia, Canada represents approximately 3,900 GWh of electrical energy and 30,000 jobs across the province (BC Hydro 2019; Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources 2018). As nineteen percent of the province’s electrical load for the industrial sector – and eight percent of the entire province’s electrical load – it also represents an important opportunity to conserve energy and contribute to meeting BC and Canadian targets for emissions reductions by 2030 and beyond (BC Hydro 2019; Government of Canada 2017).

Two mines, New Gold New Afton and Teck Highland Valley Copper (HVC), both near Kamloops, BC, approach staff engagement as a vital part of their overall energy management strategies.  Using experiences and stories from the last seven years, this paper shares each mine’s journey to empower employees to conserve energy, highlights results and describes lessons learned.

Results highlight:

  • Energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • Process improvement and innovation
  • Engaged leadership and employees

Lessons learned discuss:

  • Hiring a full-time Energy Champion
  • Cultivating passion and creativity
  • Developing accountability and ownership
  • Increasing the benefits and decreasing the barriers
  • Considering key messages
  • Celebrating and sharing
  • Building enduring capacity
  • Understanding that “It’s never done”
  • Preparing to FAIL (First Attempt in Learning)