13 Nov 2023
A bespoke end-to-end switchgear and circuit breaker solution from ABB Electrification is powering up a new mining plant in West Africa looking to significantly reduce emissions via the use of renewable energy.
Tasiast 24k in Mauritania, operated by Canadian gold/silver giant Kinross, has recently increased capacity to 24,000 tonnes of gold per day while reducing costs. To help meet their sustainability targets an integrated PV solar plant has been finalized - with power generation capacity of 34 MW and a battery system of 18 MW – to provide around 20 percent of the site’s power.
The Tasiast solar project is expected to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 530 kt over the life of the mine, which could save approximately 180 million litres of fuel over the same period. The new scheme is also contributing to the Government of Mauritania’s GHG reduction targets in the country.
Long standing ABB partner Voltalia, based in Portugal, was tasked with the systems integration and value chain of the new project. Despite already being covered for protection relays, IED and energy meters, the main MV switchgear required integration in the Low Voltage Compartment (LVC) and interoperability with other devices from different manufacturers, so that all components operated in conjunction, complementing each other functions and meeting all customer demands.
Subsequently, ABB specified 15 SF6-free and robust UniGear ZS2 air insulated switchgear panels. These offer additional benefits such as a smaller footprint, easy maintenance and assembly, plus withdrawable voltage transformer. The solution also included 13 of ABB’s market leading VD4 vacuum circuit breakers – there are more than 2 million in active operation globally – which minimize maintenance and costly downtime, increase safety and provide primary and secondary protection guarantees.
Jeremy Martin, Project Manager at Voltalia SA, said: “Working with ABB on the Tasiast solar project was again a good experience. 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.”
Crucially, ABB technology manages compact dimensions free of SF6 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 LVC door, without interfering with the wiring and other components, the ZS2’s footprint flexibility proved ideal. For extra features protection, ABB also integrated two relays in one panel and the Relion RED615, with its superior line differential protection and control for incomer units, complemented the functionality required and fitted in the tight LVC door front access.
Nuno Nunes, Sales Engineer at ABB Portugal, added: “The mining industry is committed to reducing its emissions and integrating more renewable energy sources, so it was great to be involved in this innovative project, which uses our space-saving and SF6-free switchgear and circuit breakers to help provide continuous power supply for the new solar plant to operates at peak levels.”
Nida Deveci, Sales Manager and UGUR ACAR Project Manager for ABB Turkey, explained “The factory acceptance test (FAT) 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.”
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