By Business Reporter
GOLD producer B2Gold has contracted capital equipment giant Caterpillar and global industrial company Barloworld to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at its Otjikoto mine in Namibia, which will provide 7MW of solar power.
“For many years, B2Gold has relied on dependable, high-performing CAT (Caterpillar) equipment for both power solutions and mining operations at the company’s mining sites worldwide, which is why executives again selected Caterpillar and CAT dealer Barloworld to help reduce operational costs, while improving the sustainability profile at the Otjikoto mine,” said Caterpillar Surface Mining and Technology Vice-President, Jean Savage.
Caterpillar announced in August that the full system, including CAT PV solar modules and the CAT microgrid master controller (MMC), will be used to reduce the mine’s reliance on a heavy fuel oil (HFO) power plant used to power the mining facility. Barloworld is supplying the engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. Installation of the system is underway, with project completion expected in early 2018.
“At B2Gold, we embrace environmental stewardship and social responsibility as key corporate priorities in doing business,” B2Gold Namibia Managing Director and Country Manager, Mark Dawe, said.
“As one of the largest solar installations in Namibia, the facility at the Otjikoto mine will help us leverage a plentiful, renewable resource, while improving the quality of life for nearby communities.”
Caterpillar’s solar PV system is powered by advanced thin-film solar modules that are setting the industry benchmark, with its improved performance over conventional silicon solar panels. Fully scalable and pre-engineered for quick and easy installation, 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 add environment-friendly solar panels, energy-storage solutions and advanced monitoring and control systems to Caterpillar’s traditional line of reliable power generation equipment, including HFO, 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 even the most challenging environments.
A key differentiator in Caterpillar’s offering is the CAT MMC, which 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 CAT MMC determines optimum recharge times for the energy-storage systems, while managing power during times when solar energy is not available.
The MMC also uses CAT Connect technology for real-time collection and communication of on-site performance data that can be monitored and analysed remotely.
“The economic viability of remote mining operations depends on the cost-efficient generation of power,” said Caterpillar Global Power Solutions Division Vice-President, Tom Frake.
“Caterpillar’s solar technologies provide a scalable, sustainable power solution that significantly reduces fuel consumption, while delivering the reliable power needed to support mining sites.”
B2Gold’s Otjikoto mine is located in the region of Otjozondjupa, about 300km north of the capital city of Windhoek. The mine reported a record year in 2016, producing 166 285 ounces of gold. Caterpillar supplied the original 25MW of power capacity to the Otjikoto mine, when it opened in 2014, through four CAT 12CM32 HFO medium-speed engines and three CAT 3516B high-speed generator sets.
Caterpillar is a leader in the power generation marketplace, with power systems engineered to deliver unmatched durability, reliability and value. The company offers worldwide product support, with parts and services available globally through the CAT-authorised service and dealer network. In addition, dealer service technicians are trained to service every aspect of CAT equipment.
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