Caterpillar, Tractafric complete 7.5 MW battery storage solution for grid stability at Barrick's Kibali

22nd October 2021 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Creamer Media Reporter

Construction and equipment manufacturer Caterpillar and equipment distribution multinational Tractafric have installed 7.5 MW of battery energy storage capacity at gold miner Barrick Gold's Kibali mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Tractafric solution is operational and deploys battery energy storage and Caterpillar bi-directional power inverters (BDP) to provide grid stability. The Caterpillar Master Microgrid Controller seamlessly integrates up to 45 MW of power generated by three hydroelectric power stations and 36 Caterpillar 3512 diesel generator sets.

Barrick has also employed Caterpillar Connect Remote Asset Monitoring for the real-time collection and off-site monitoring of performance data.

“The Caterpillar grid stabiliser offsets the cyclical loading of the winding plant to reduce the spinning reserve requirement, which decreases yearly diesel consumption by about three-million litres and the associated carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 8 000 t.”

The project required exceptional collaborative effort between Caterpillar, Tractafric and the Kibali technical on-site team, which had to make use of innovative remote technologies to commission the system during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The result is continuous, reliable power for the Kibali mine generated at the lowest unit cost rate through maximum renewable energy penetration. Barrick is investigating options to improve on this blend, says Barrick Gold Africa and Middle East chief engineer Rousseau Jooste.

The hybrid energy solution adds to Tractafric’s and Caterpillar’s substantial footprint at the Kibali mine. Barrick uses 48 Caterpillar haul trucks, blasthole drill rigs, wheel loaders, dozers, graders, wheel dozers and water delivery systems at the Kibali mine under a contract with mining service firm DTP Terrassement – Kibali Mining Services.

Additionally, Tractafric supports power plant operations and maintenance around the clock with an on-site staff of 18 technicians.

Kibali mine, in the DRC province of Haut-Uele, is one of the largest gold mines in Africa. Barrick operates Kibali in a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti and the Congolese parastatal Sokimo. Commissioned in September 2013, Kibali produced 808 000 oz of gold in 2020 from openpit and underground integrated mining operations.

“Improving the quality of power at a lower cost is a key business driver for customers. The configuration of a power system featuring grid stabilisers illustrates how the technical expertise of Tractafric quipment and the advanced technology of Caterpillar deliver sustainable hybrid energy solutions that supply cleaner and more stable power to customers while reducing costs,” says Tractafric Equipment - Energy and Transportation mining director and group sales director Julien-Christian Chaumond.

“Renewable energy sources are assuming a growing role at mines and other remote, off-grid applications. The configuration of a power system featuring grid stabilisers illustrates how Caterpillar and the Caterpillar dealer network offer a portfolio of the latest field-proven technologies combined with the expertise needed to help enterprises integrate sustainability into their operations,” adds Caterpillar large electric power solutions GM Bart Myers.

Caterpillar’s hybrid energy solutions technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions and reduce the total cost of ownership, while increasing energy resiliency in even the most challenging environments, he says.