Gold from Africa

19 May 2000

When Rider Haggard wrote King Solomon’s Mines, he was thinking in terms of a hero working against both expected and unexpected obstacles to find and recover gold from the heart of Africa. There is gold in the heart of Africa, as the gold mines there testify. There is no single hero involved in recovering this gold, but there are certainly many expected and unexpected obstacles.

One of those obstacles is ensuring that there is reliable delivery of power to the gold mines. The operating conditions for power plant at gold mines tend to be extremely onerous, and can severely challenge the hardiest of power systems. The conditions include dust, heat, and remoteness.

Mali may not be the setting of King Solomon’s Mines, but it is the location for several recent contracts for power plants from gold mines.

The first of these was a $10 million contract won by Cummins Power Generation to supply a 12 MWe power station to Sadiola Gold Mine. The order was placed by SEMOS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AngloGold South Africa, which operates the goldmine.

The plant will consist of 16 x 1000 kWe gensets powered by the Cummins KTA50G3 diesel engine.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce won $100 million contracts to supply power for two gold mines in Mali. The projects were awarded by Randgold Resources for a total of seven Allen 5012 diesels for two gold mines, Morila and Syama.

At Syama, the Allen 5012 diesels will supplement an existing 20 MWe plant. First operation with two engines started in April. At Morila, the power plant will be built when the new mine is constructed.

The 5012 engine can run on both distillate and heavy fuels, and has digital fuel injection.

Mali is not the only country in Africa developing gold mines. Tanzania is developing the Geita gold mine on the southern tip of Lake Victoria. Ashanti Goldfields is to buy seven Allen 5012 diesel gensets from Rolls-Royce Power Ventures, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce, with an option for an eighth, as part of a £16.5 million contract. Rolls-Royce will build and operate the power station.

Trevor Schultz, Chief Operating Officer of Ashanti, said: “We awarded this order to Rolls-Royce based on life cycle costs.” The 5000 series was covered in the April 1998 issue of Modern Power Systems.

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