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Customised solution powers mine, reduces emissions

2nd February 2024

     

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A custom made end-to-end switchgear and circuit breaker solution from technology company ABB Electrification is powering up a new mining plant at Canadian gold and silver miner Kinross’ Tasiast 24k mine, with the aim of significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the use of renewable energy.

Tasiast 24k, located in Mauritania, has recently increased production capacity to 24 000 t a day, while also managing to reduce costs.

To assist in meeting the operation’s sustainability targets, an integrated photovoltaic (PV) solar plant has been finalised – with power generation capacity of 34 MW and a battery system of 18 MW – to provide about 20% of the site’s power.

The Tasiast solar project is expected to reduce GHG emissions by about 530 000 t over the life of the mine, which could save about 180-million litres of fuel over the same period.

The new scheme is also contributing to Mauritania’s GHG reduction targets.

Independent power producer and ABB partner Voltalia, based in Portugal, was tasked with the systems integration and value chain management of the new project.

“ABB’s technical expertise played a key role in achieving our objectives for this project. Working alongside a committed partner like ABB reinforces our belief that collaboration can bring about real change,” says Voltalia South Africa project manager Jeremy Martin.

“The factory acceptance test with our partner Voltalia was successful at the first attempt and proved that the collaboration and understanding was clear and good from the offset.

“They were very pleased with the speed of our responses and appreciated the technical revisions and adjustments we brought to the table to complete the process satisfactorily for all concerned parties,” explain ABB Turkey sales manager Nida Deveci and project manager Uğur Acar.

Specifications
While protection relays, energy meters and an intelligent electronic device were already accounted for, the main medium voltage switchgear required integration in the low voltage compartment.

Further, the system required interoperability with other devices from a different manufacturer to ensure that all components operate in conjunction, complementing each other’s functions and meeting all customer demands.

Subsequently, ABB specified 15 sulfur hexafluoride-free and robust UniGear ZS2 air-insulated switchgear panels, which offer additional benefits such as a smaller footprint, easy maintenance and assembly, and a withdrawable voltage transformer.

The solution also included 13 of ABB’s VD4 vacuum circuit breakers which reduce maintenance and costly downtime.

Further, the breakers increase safety and provide primary and secondary protection guarantees.

ABB technology manages compact dimensions free of sulfur hexafluoride insulating gas in the switchgear or the circuit breaker, without compromising performance, safety or reliability, which was a key differentiator for both Voltalia and Kinross.

With the relays taking up significant space and having to be fitted within the confines of the low voltage control door, without interfering with the wiring and other components, the ZS2’s footprint flexibility proved suitable.

For extra features protection, ABB also integrated two relays in one panel and the Relion RED615, which complemented the functionality required and fitted in the tight low voltage control door front access.

In particular, the Relion RED615 offers superior line differential protection and control for incomer units.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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