Prime Remote Power

The Client: A1 Minerals

Providing a turnkey power solution for a remote mine; maintenance, service and finance from the Cat Network.

The Background

A1 Minerals Limited is an emerging Australian gold miner with a ground holding of over 500 square kilometres in the highly prospective Laverton district in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

In order to maximise returns from their extensive holdings, A1 Minerals commissioned their own gold treatment plant for the BrightStar gold project that came online in February 2010 and produced its first 7.99kg unrefined gold bar the following month.

According to Energy Power Systems W.A. Sales Engineer, Nick Robinson, meeting A1 Minerals’ power requirements for their BrightStar project within their nominated timeframe would have challenged most suppliers, but with the combined resources of Energy Power Systems Australia (EPSA), WesTrac and Caterpillar® Finance we were able to get them up and running on schedule.

“A1 Minerals’ strategy from the beginning was to have built-in redundancy for both the equipment and the mine’s camp to enable them to maintain production no matter what the circumstances were.

The Requirement

“Following an initial inquiry about availability and pricing of 500 kVA generator sets we put together a total design,
engineering, installation, commissioning and maintenance proposal built around our Olympian generator set range and were awarded the contract in late 2009.

“At the end of their review process it became clear to A1 Minerals that EPSA was best placed to not only provide a turn-key power solution but to also assist with finance through Cat Finance and then support the Olympian generators through-life via our support partner, WesTrac.

“From EPSA’s point of view, our range of Olympian generators were ideally suited to their requirements as they represent a lower cost entry level product that are designed, engineered and manufactured for optimal performance at Caterpillar’s ISO 9001 certified facility in the United Kingdom.

“As such, they deliver Caterpillar’s legendary performance, exceptional fuel efficiency, proven performance and unmatched nation-wide support, while from A1 Minerals’ point of view they also liked the fact that we had product available from stock and that they could see it in operation to see that it was suitable for their purposes.

“Initially their brief called for three 500 kVA generator sets, but after conducting an electrical analysis of the 300,000 tonne per annum processing plant’s load requirements we recommended five Olympian GP550 generator sets matched together. This configuration would not only deliver the required output but also ensure the system provided the level of in-built redundancy they required.

“During the review process A1 Minerals decided to increase the plant’s power capacity to support a ramp-up in their processing capacity to 700,000 tonnes annually, if required.

“Ultimately we designed a prime power generation system for the processing plant that used six 500 kVA Olympian GEP550 gensets in conjunction with two smaller Olympian GEH250 and GEH275 gensets, rated at 230 kVA and 250 kVA respectively, for the 60 man base camp.

“We then designed, engineered and manufactured the generator marshalling board at Energy Power System’s Welshpool W.A. facility and paralleled the generators prior to delivery and installation in January, 2010.

The Solution

“By recommending a multimodular approach consisting of smaller generator sets A1 Minerals were better placed to deal with varying load situations enabling them to plug-and-play with greater flexibility. Plus they had significant in-built redundancy to safeguard production that they would not have had if they had installed two larger generators, which is what most of our competitors would have recommended,” Nick said.

Commenting on the power plant’s commissioning A1 Minerals Managing Director, John Williams, said that they were happy with Energy Power Systems who provided a seamless service with WesTrac in the engineering design, through to the establishment of the power system which run the processing plant at the new BrightStar Beta Gold Project.
“Energy Power Systems and WesTrac also greatly assisted in ancillary power requirements during construction at the mine site and for the 60 person accommodation facility, which is now fully occupied.

The Results

“We are very proud at A1 Minerals to have poured our first gold on March 3, 2010, and our thanks go to Nick Robinson at Energy Power Systems and Brian Mortimer at WesTrac for the role they played in helping us get into production.”