Goldfields expands its love affair with gas

POWER generation specialist Pacific Energy has secured a new electricity supply contract with Goldfields gold miner Saracen Mineral Holdings for a new 14 megawatt gas-fuelled power station at Saracen's Thunderbox gold mine, south of Leinster.
Goldfields expands its love affair with gas Goldfields expands its love affair with gas Goldfields expands its love affair with gas Goldfields expands its love affair with gas Goldfields expands its love affair with gas

Haydn Black


The Thunderbox processing facility, which has been on care and maintenance since 2007, has an annual capacity of 2.5 million tonnes and incorporates a single-stage crusher, a SAG mill and a ball mill as well as conventional CIL leaching and elution circuits.

Saracen recently approved the redevelopment of Thunderbox, with the aim of allowing the company to become a mid-tier gold producer with annual production doubling to 300,000 ounces per annum by 2016-17.

Pacific will play a role in that with the company's wholly owned subsidiary, Kalgoorlie Power Systems set to start rapid deployment of teams to build, own and maintain the 14MW plant for an initial five years.

Work is expected to start in September.

The new contract builds on February's contract award from Saracen to convert and expand KPS's existing 10MW diesel fuelled power station at Carosue Dam to an 11MW dual fuelled power station capable of achieving a gas for diesel substitution of up to 80%, as well as to increase capacity at the Red October site to 3.2MW.

Similarly, KPS was awarded a contract in February from AngloGold Ashanti to convert KPS's existing 44MW Tropicana gold mine power station from a diesel to a gas-fuelled operation.

That contract runs through to 2028.

"We are delighted to have secured this additional contract with Saracen. The business is clearly building on our ability to offer the market a remote electricity solution powered by diesel, gas or combination of both," Pacific managing director James Cullen said.

"Other power supply bidding and negotiations are in progress and we hope to increase our long term contracted capacity through further success in the near future."

Pacific has 219MW of contracted capacity at 20 mine site locations across Australia, and it owns the Cardinia Reservoir and Blue Rock Dam hydropower plants in Victoria.