- Restricted power capacity in northern Chile was affecting BHP Billiton’s largest copper mine
- Aggreko installed a 60MW power plant along with catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions
- The power package has allowed BHP Billiton to continue its mining operations despite increased power shortages
Aggreko plc, the world leader in the provision of temporary power and temperature control services has successfully designed, installed and commissioned a 60MW power plant for Minera Escondida Ltd (part of the BHP Billiton group) to provide a back-up power supply for the largest copper mine in the world, located in northern Chile.
Power capacity from the main utility grid in northern Chile is currently restricted and can be unreliable. As the world’s largest copper mine, Minera Escondida could not afford to allow a lack of grid power to affect either the mining operation or production capacity. Following an extensive bidding process, the company contracted Aggreko to provide a turn-key power solution as part of measures being implemented to avert power outages.
The contract was awarded to Aggreko based on a number of key factors. The mine’s environmental policies required the level of nitrous oxide (NOX) produced by the power plant to be minimised due to the proximity of a nearby village. Aggreko therefore designed the system to include Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to be fitted to the generators to address this environmental consideration. Another key factor was the ability of Aggreko to deliver a fully operational turn-key solution within a critical timescale, as the project had to be completed prior to the onset of winter. Aggreko managed all elements of the project including design, equipment mobilisation and commissioning, together with on-site operation and maintenance.
The project has already proven a success for the client, with back-up power having been utilised over 15 times for periods between one and five hours. By utilising the Aggreko power plant rather than stopping or slowing production, BHP Billiton has been able to continue its mining operations as normal, reducing financial impact from potential lost production.
“We have chosen to work with Aggreko as they offered a flexible approach to our requirements and a solution which could be operational within our deadlines. Also their reputation and experience of providing reliable power for the mining industry in Chile led us to award the contract to Aggreko,” said Felix Vázquez, Mine Services Manager, Minera Escondida, Chile.
“We are very pleased to be working with Minera Escondida on a project of this magnitude. Health, safety and environmental considerations are vitally important to a mining operation and we have an excellent track record of working with mining companies around the world to fully understand and meet these requirements,” said Diogenes Neto, Managing Director Aggreko South America.