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Saudi Arabia mining site power plant to use solar energy

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply the engineering, equipment, and technical advisory for a 44 MW power plant to be installed at the Mansourah & Massarah Gold Project mine in Saudi Arabia. It will be the first newbuild power project in the country to utilise a hybrid concept, with engine technology and solar energy. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in March by Larsen & Toubro Ltd, the India-based main contractors for the project.

The power plant will comprise six Wärtsilä 32 engines, with five in operation and one on constant stand-by. The built-in flexibility of the Wärtsilä engine technology, which allows full power output to be reached within minutes of being started, will allow the plant to efficiently utilise renewable solar energy. Renewable source energy, such as solar and wind, require the power plant to be able to respond rapidly to an inherently fluctuating supply to enable the load to be effectively balanced.

“Reliability is key for any gold mine for securing uninterrupted operations and targeted revenues in all occasions. The dedicated power plant will ensure that the mine can operate on a reliable and economical supply of electricity. In particular, we have selected the Wärtsilä technology because of its capability to enable the integration of PV solar into the system, which is important for this project,” commented Amit Swarnkar, MENA BU Head, Metallurgical and Material Handling Division, Larsen & Turbo Ltd.

“Maximising the use of renewable energy is central to Wärtsilä’s approach to enabling sustainable energy supplies. We enhance this energy transition by optimising energy systems for our customers, and have extensive experience in providing power for mining operations, so this project fits our capabilities perfectly,” said Alexandre Eykerman, Energy Business Director, Middle East, Wärtsilä.

The Wärtsilä equipment will be delivered on a fast-track basis within just 10 months from the contract signing. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned by May 2021, with commercial operations beginning a year later.

The Mansourah & Massarah Gold project is being executed by the Consortium of Outotec and Larsen Toubro Limited. While Outotec remains the key technology provider for this project, Larsen & Toubro’s responsibility includes the entire balance of plant activities, including some critical process equipment, the entire plant utilities, power generation and distribution, as well as the civil and structural works, together with the complete plant installation activities and commissioning support.

The Mansourah & Massarah project is Saudi Arabian Mining Company’s largest ever gold project, estimated to produce an average of 250 000 oz/y of gold over the life of the mine. The on-site processing plant will be capable of processing up to four million tonnes per year of the complex refractory ores contained in the deposit – the first time such ores have been mined and processed in the Middle East.

The project is commissioned, and the mine will be operated by Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ma’aden as part of the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030 initiative to diversify the national economy and promote the mining sector.

The Wärtsilä 32 engine is well established in Saudi Arabia, with more than 100 units already installed in 15 baseload power plants.

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