Gold producer B2Gold has contracted capital equipment giant Caterpillar and global industrial company Barloworld to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Otjikoto mine, Namibia, which will provide 7 MW of solar power for the mine.
“For many years, B2Gold has relied on dependable, high-performing Cat 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 VP 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 being used to power the mining facility. Barloworld is supplying the engineering, procurement and construction services for the project. Installation of the system is under way, with project completion expected in early 2018.
“At B2Gold, we embrace environmental stewardship and social responsibility as key corporate priorities in doing business,” says B2Gold Namibia MD and country manager Mark Dawe.
“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.”
Advanced Solar Technology
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,” says Caterpillar global power solutions division VP 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 300 km north of the capital city of Windhoek. The mine reported a record year in 2016, producing 166 285 oz of gold. Caterpillar supplied the original 25 MW 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.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, B2Gold is one of the fastest-growing intermediate gold producers in the world. Founded in 2007, the company now has four operating mines, one mine under construction and numerous exploration projects in various countries, including Nicaragua, the Philippines, Namibia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Finland.
Meanwhile, construction of the company’s Fekola mine, in south-west Mali, is about three months ahead of schedule and within budget. As a result, the company is well positioned to maintain its low-cost structure and growth profile.
Looking forward to 2018, with the planned first full year of production from the Fekola project (based on current assumptions and updates to the company’s long-term mine plans), B2Gold forecasts that its consolidated gold production with increase significantly by about 65% year-on-year and to be between 900 000 oz and 950 000 oz.
A Cat dealer since 1927, Barloworld Power is strategically positioned to meet a broad range of energy and commercial engine solutions in the Southern African market, with commercial offerings that include mining and construction equipment, marine propulsion and locomotive engines.
Barloworld Power offers rental, new or used generator set packages ranging from 4 kW to 16 MW, while the company’s in-house engineering team specialises in designing and building power stations with capabilities of up to about 90 MW.
For more than 90 years, Caterpillar has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Caterpillar assists customers in developing infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2016 sales and revenues of $38.54-billion, Caterpillar is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.