Tag Archives: George Whyte

Ora Banda benefits from Aggreko virtual LNG pipeline at Davyhurst gold mine

In what is a world-first for global energy provider Aggreko, the company has introduced its latest high efficiency gas engines at Ora Banda Mining’s Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia.

The power station, which uses a virtual pipeline of gas trucked over 650 km, is expected to slash the mine’s carbon emissions by 25,000 t during the next five years, Aggreko says.

A virtual gas pipeline is a substitute for a physical pipeline whereby gas that would typically be conveyed through a conventional gas pipeline is instead transported as liquified natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas to the point of use by sea, road, rail or through a combination of one or more of these transport modes.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, said the LNG station project at Davyhurst was another step in the company’s mission to help miners’ get closer to their net zero emission targets.

“The Davyhurst gas power station is a great example of how a mine which previously operated on diesel wanted to operate on cleaner fuel and we were able to switch from diesel to gas,” Whyte said.

“Creating a virtual pipeline application is a way to switch from diesel to a cleaner fuel source and reduce carbon immediately without requiring any capital outlay or a physical gas pipeline.

“The result at Davyhurst is a gas power station comprising five LNG-generating sets and two diesel generating sets for a combined modular power output of 8.2 MW. Aggreko’s gas-fired power station will enable Ora Banda Mining to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation.”

He added: “This project demonstrates great innovation, uses a virtual gas pipeline and is a world-first for us using the high-speed reciprocating gas engines in our power generators. The power station is highly efficient, scalable and very suitable for transient loads and for the introduction of solar at a later stage.”

Whyte said Aggreko’s contract to supply the mine with power saved the junior miner on large capital expenditure and allowed miners to focus on their core skill of mining.

“Of appeal to miners is being able to take on flexible contracts with no capital outlay,” he said. “In addition, Aggreko upscales the technology, and the level of power is scalable so it can evolve with the mine.

“At Aggreko, we will reduce the amount of fossil diesel fuel used in customer solutions by at least 50% by 2030 and become a net-zero business across all services we provide by 2050. We are continuing to innovate and work with miners to reduce carbon by providing them with cleaner, scalable and modular energy as they work toward their net-zero targets.”

Ora Branda Mining Managing Director, David Quinlivan, said mining operations started on its large land holding in Western Australia in 2019 and reprocessing started again in January 2021.

“As part of the capital works program, we needed to re-establish a power station at Davyhurst and we worked with Aggreko and EVOL LNG to build a natural gas-powered station to power all of the site,” Quinlivan said.

“Initially, power was supplied to the site via an overhead line from Kalgoorlie. It is now trucked 650 km to site where it is used to power the gas generators. The power station developed for the site now supplies power to the processing plant, to the administration complex, our exploration and core processing facilities, the main mine accommodation plant, and out to the underground mining offices. It also powers our primary communications facilities.

“Working with Aggreko has resulted in a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for our company.”

Aggreko ups the mine cooling ante with modular BAC10000s

Twenty years after establishing modular mine cooling solutions in Australia, Aggreko has released an offering for mines going deeper with its latest modular bulk air coolers (BACs).

These 40 ft (12.19 m) mobile BAC10000s coolers are “unique” and relatively new to the mine cooling market, according to Aggreko Australia-Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte.

“They are scalable, portable and boast three times the cooling capacity of our previous largest offering – the 20 ft long (about 6.09 m) containers,” he said.

Aggreko has delivered more than 50 mine cooling projects globally, and always draws on the experience of its engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance teams to stay at the forefront of technology, according to Whyte.

“Aggreko’s mining services pioneered mine cooling as a rental service 20 years ago as a result of mines looking for alternatives to capital refrigeration plants,” he said. “Previously mining companies would need to use capital to install built-in cooling systems which were not scalable, modular or as effective.

“In the past two decades we have witnessed mines becoming deeper and this has resulted in the need for larger cooling capacities and innovation. The need for deeper mines in increasingly remote locations, coupled with rising global temperatures, is forcing operation managers to seek affordable alternatives to cooling and ventilation systems.”

Aggreko Underground Cooling Sector Manager, Mitch Bevan, said the BAC10000s were used at a Western Australia mine last year and will soon arrive at a mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Bevan said part of the new modular BACs appeal were their simplicity and convenience when compared with purpose-built on-site cooling plants. The new BACs used a simple design involving pipes, chilled water and three axial fans – all comprised in a modular shipping container. He expected more mines globally would become interested in the company’s new product offering, particularly in regions such as Africa, Latin America and North America.

“The unit is more suited for larger installations and offers improved efficiency rather than using a large number of smaller BACs,” Bevan said.

“Capital refrigeration plants take a long time for mines to prepare for financially, as well as to install, whereas we can mobilise on relatively short notice. A rental option also provides a great deal of flexibility, which is often crucial for underground vent systems where it is difficult to predict the requirement year on year.”

Bevan said Aggreko re-engineered their cooling towers to come up with the 40 ft modular BAC10000s after anticipating there would be global demand for such an offering.

“Long running mines have continued to grow and their refrigeration requirement grows with the mine, so BACs are appealing as they can be scaled up or easily moved on-site,” he said.

“While mines are expanding, our clients are also focused on energy efficiency, and safer operation – such as more environmentally friendly refrigerants – and we are constantly working on new developments in these areas.

“The water-cooled BACs have less of an environmental impact seeing as the modular container sits on the ground’s surface and requires no serious ground modifications, such as concrete.

“The units only require water and power and, while some mines use diesel-generated power, as time goes on, that will shift to renewable energy. Our company has made major commitments to greener energy to help miners achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That is why we are constantly exploring and investing in new technologies. Currently, our water-cooled chillers use half as much power as air-cooled options, which is part of their appeal, and we are the only rental company to provide such modular and scalable products.”

The BAC10000s have been successfully used at 29Metals’ Golden Grove mine – a high grade copper, zinc and precious metals mine, about 450 km northeast of Perth, which mills about 1.44 Mt/y.

When the mine underwent an expansion, which required almost two years to up-scale its permanent cooling plant, a quick and effective solution was needed in time for the 2020-21 summer, according to Aggreko. The power specialist was able to quickly supply the BAC10000s to install a 4.5 MWr water-cooled plant.

As well as water cooled refrigeration plants such as Aggreko’s 20 ft and 40 ft BACs, Aggreko also offers air cooled refrigeration plants (with power provided, if required) and underground spot cooling solutions.

“Newer mines are also continuing to come online in Australia and around the world,” Bevan said. “We are supplying modular cooling solutions throughout the entire mining lifecycle.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve on our strengths to assist our clients further into the future. We provide flexible energy solutions and services to the mining sector and provide high standards regardless of a mine’s location in the world.”

Aggreko to energise mine power space with investment proposition

Mobile power provider Aggreko says it is making the transition from being a pure power provider to a long-term mining project investor that is helping miners navigate the energy transition.

Aggreko has built an almost 60-year-long reputation for powering many sectors around the globe. It has also supplied power and underground cooling to the mining sector for more than 35 years and has evolved into life-of-mine contracts and renewables.

In its latest report – which details its future energy transition – Aggreko cites mining as a major growth sector. Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, stated that Aggreko’s global team’s unique offering is with build-own-operate investments across all continents.

As well as continuing to invest upward of £250 million ($347 million) annually in technology and innovation, the company says it is ready to further boost its investments in the natural resources industry.

Whyte said: “Investor partnerships can support the rapid changes in technology and emissions compliance that our mining customers are facing. Investing millions of dollars in capital for a mine’s power plant is a risk for any company, and, as a partner, Aggreko takes on this risk instead of the mining company. It is a smart way for miners to do business in the post-COVID and renewables era.”

Aggreko’s Global Head of Mining, Rod Saffy, said miners struggling to get funding for capital expenditure projects were looking to outsource, and there was a trend toward creating partnerships with providers.

“Partnerships provide more value beyond de-risking project finances,” Saffy said. “There are technology and emissions risks, so by partnering with us, for example, we aren’t just supplying equipment and labour, we share in decision making and project milestones, we invest and update technology on-site and navigate social and environmental impacts together.”
Saffy said companies looking to build power stations for the first time particularly benefited from supportive partnerships with Aggreko.

“Power stations are our core business, and they have become much more complex on mine sites than they have been in the past,” he said. “It is challenging to get funding to build power stations, and miners are needing support to integrate renewables into their plans immediately or in the future, or needing solutions designed from scratch.

“Partnering with us is a sustainable and beneficial business solution. Miners are wanting hybrid power stations that might utilise a mix of energy sources such as diesel, gas, solar or battery, for example. They also want that power to be scaled up or down and upgraded as their needs change and new technology comes online.”

Saffy said mines throughout the world were becoming less dependent on mass-scale thermal plants to deliver baseload power through national grids.

“With the cost of renewable power generation falling, there is also growth in localised microgrids, which means less dependence or complete independence from the grid,” he said. “Miners in Australia, Africa and South America, where there is less infrastructure in remote locations, are finding it particularly helpful to partner with us from the start of a major project.”

One such example is the Gold Fields Salares Norte Mine in northern Chile where Aggreko has become a major investor, and partner for the mining project for at least 10 years. The mine is located 190 km from the nearest town and is 4,500 m above sea level, and Aggreko is creating an off-grid hybrid power solution, comprising of diesel and solar for the harsh environmental conditions. Aggreko estimates the mine will experience $7.4 million in cost energy savings across the 10 years.

Saffy said the benefits for Aggreko in partnering and investing with miners from the beginning of their project to the end of the life of mine was beneficial for both parties.

“As a partner, Aggreko de-risks the threat of future innovation and technology for miners,” he said. “Our build, own, operate and maintain model frees up working capital without increasing the debt ratio for mining projects. Modular equipment also gives miners the ability to leverage innovation at low risk and not be concerned about having the latest equipment.

“We benefit too, by showcasing our expertise and innovations throughout a project’s lifecycle and support mining companies to reduce emissions and increase their operational efficiencies.”

Late last year, Aggreko committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Aggreko to deliver renewable power microgrid to Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine

Gold Fields’ Granny Smith gold mine is set to install one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and backed up by a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, according to mobile and modular power company Aggreko.

The mining company has contracted the Scotland-based firm to design, build and operate the 8 MW solar power generation system along with the battery system at Granny Smith, which is located east of Laverton in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

In June, said it was working with Gold Fields on plans to provide 7.3 MW of solar power generation, as well as a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, to be integrated with the existing gas supply as a hybrid power station.

Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said: “We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations.

“We expect the renewable power microgrid will be up and running at Granny Smith by Q4 (December quarter) 2019 and it will be a welcome addition to our suite of on-site energy solutions across other operations which will enable us to reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.

Construction of the renewable energy system is planned to commence in May and, when completed, will be one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids, integrated with Aggreko’s existing 24.2 MW natural gas generation.

Aggreko AusPac Managing Director, George Whyte, said the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will be seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggreko’s control software platform – maintaining full system availability and optimising the lifetime of existing thermal assets.

Whyte said: “The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10-13% – the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road – and produce about 18 GWh of clean energy per year.

“Gold Fields understands the performance, cost and environmental advantages for their operation, as well as the need to integrate this resource into their system without compromising power supply reliability or mining productivity.”

While the solar photovoltaic (PV) will reduce the need to run thermal generators, the battery plant will provide essential services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support.

The current Granny Smith power station was designed and installed by Aggreko in 2016 and the new hybrid power system, combined with a thermal station expansion, will meet the increased daily power needs of 24.2 MW, with 12.2 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12 MW to the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp, Aggreko said. Granny Smith produced 290,000 oz of gold in 2017.