Buenavista del Cobre S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Grupo México, runs one of the largest open-pit copper operations in the world. The mine – Buenavista del Cobre – was established in 1899, making it the oldest active copper mine in North America. Located 40 kilometers south of Mexico’s border with the United States, and southwest of the city of Cananea in the state of Sonora, the mine is almost a city in itself: its 9,000-plus workers produce over 200,000 tons of copper a year.
Like all mines, Buenavista del Cobre is a huge consumer of energy. And even more so as it grows. After a recent extension of the mine, electrical demand runs around 500 MW. Seven substations, including one switching substation, were constructed to receive energy from the grid and distribute it at 230 KV. Control of the system is through a distributed control center (DCC) from Siemens.