By Hilary Mare
B2GOLD has appointed Caterpillar and Cat dealer, Barloworld, to supply a 7MW solar power plant to its Otjikoto Mine.
The full system, including Cat photovoltaic (PV) solar modules and the Cat Microgrid Master Controller (MMC), will be used to reduce reliance on a heavy fuel oil power plant, which is currently used to power the mining facility.
Barloworld is supplying engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. The installation of the system is underway, with the completion of the project expected in early 2018.
“As one of the largest solar installations in Namibia, the facility at the Otjikoto Mine will help us to leverage a plentiful, renewable resource, while improving the quality of life for nearby communities,” B2Gold Namibia Managing Director and Country Manager, Mark Dawe, said in a statement.
Caterpillar’s solar PV system is powered by advanced thin-film solar modules that have improved performance over conventional silicon solar panels.
The system offers reliable and predictable energy in all climates and applications, with modules that are independently tested to pass accelerated life and stress tests beyond industry standards.
Caterpillar’s solar PV offering is a key component of the Cat Microgrid technology suite, an innovative line-up of power systems that adds environment-friendly solar panels, energy storage and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, including heavy fuel oil, natural gas and diesel generator sets, switchgear and automatic transfer switches.
The Cat Microgrid technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership, while increasing energy efficiency in challenging environments.
The Cat MMC keeps loads continuously energised with high-quality power, at the lowest cost.
It manages the flow of power from every source in the system, including the main grid, when connected.
The MMC also uses Cat Connect technology for real-time collection and communication of on-site performance data, which can be monitored and analysed remotely.
The Otjikoto Mine continued its very strong operational performance into the second quarter of 2017, producing 41 163 ounces of gold, 15 percent (or 5 273 ounces) above budget and 14 percent (or 4 991 ounces) higher than the second quarter of 2016.
“The increase over budget was mainly the result of better than expected grade and ore tonnage from the new Wolfshag Phase 1 Pit and higher than expected mill throughput,” the mine said.
“The average gold grade processed in the quarter was 1.50 g/t, compared to budget of 1.38 g/t and 1.29 g/t in the second quarter of 2016. To date, there has been a positive reconciliation in terms of both grade and ore tonnage from the oxide and transition portions of the Wolfshag Phase 1 Pit, versus the resource model. Analysis of the Wolfshag model is ongoing, to determine whether this positive variance continues throughout the Wolfshag orebody. Mill throughput for the quarter was 867 170 tons, compared to budget of 823 732 tons and 890 704 tons in the second quarter of 2016. Mill recoveries remained high and averaged 98.6 percent, slightly above both budget and the prior-year quarter,” the mine further said.
Otjikoto’s second quarter cash operating costs were US$524 per ounce, significantly below budget by US$200 per ounce (or 28 percent). This was mainly the result of higher than budgeted gold production, combined with lower than budgeted fuel prices and reagent consumption.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, cash operating costs were US$138 per ounce higher, as the prior-year quarter had benefited from a significantly weaker Namibian dollar/US dollar foreign exchange rate and lower fuel prices.
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