DRC: Caterpillar and Tractafric store hydroelectric power at the Kibali mine

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DRC: Caterpillar and Tractafric store hydroelectric power at the Kibali mine© Caterpillar

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the American industrial group Caterpillar and the concessionaire Tractafric Equipment are completing the commissioning of a battery electricity storage system at Kibali. This gold mine is operated by the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation.

The initiative of the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation aims at stabilizing the electrical network of its Kibali mine. The mining company ordered a battery power storage system that was recently built and delivered by the American industrial group Caterpillar, in partnership with Tractafric Equipment, a dealer based in Puteaux, France.

Installed in shipping containers, the storage system commissioned at the Kibali mine is capable of accumulating 7.5 MW of electricity, which is redistributed on demand. The underground and open pit gold mine is powered by electricity generated from three 44 MW run-of-river hydroelectric plants, which are designed to reduce their environmental footprint.

Read also- DRC: the Inga II hydroelectric plant will power the Kamoa-Kakul copper mine

These hydroelectric facilities are supported by 32 MW thermal generators, and Caterpillar says its system (grid stabilizer) compensates for cyclic load on the winding facility to reduce the need for spinning reserve, reducing annual diesel consumption by about 3 million litres and associated carbon dioxide emissions by about 8,000 metric tons.

The Kibali gold mine has been open since 2013 after a $1.7 billion investment. Barrick operates the mine in a joint venture with South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti and Société des mines d’or de Kilo Moto (SOKIMO), a Congolese parastatal DR company. It is the largest gold mine in the DRC with a production of 808,000 ounces of gold in 2020.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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