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SA firm powers Mozambique’s Balama Mine

South Africa-based utility company Zest Energy, a subsidiary Zest WEG Group has constructed seven generators power plant at Balama graphite project.

ASX-listed Syrah developers of Balama said the plant will start operating in the first quarter of 2017 producing an initial capacity of 12.5 MW with an installation of seven 2 200 kW diesel generators.

Located 250 km west of Pemba in northern Mozambique, Balama Mine requires supplementary power to ensure adequate supply though connected to the national grid.

Alastair Gerrard, Zest Energy Managing Director is optimistic the plant will meet Balama Mine expectations.

“We need to ensure 100% availability and have consequently designed the plant with substantial standby capacity to allow for maintenance and repairs without affecting supply,” Gerrard said.

The 2200kW generators plant is the largest footprint project tackled by Zest Energy yet, to be expanded later to eleven generators, of which two will be standby units.

Gerrard said companies within the Zest WEG Group supplied equipment for the extensive scope project.

According Zest Energy the containerised power generators include WEG alternators with automatic voltage regulation systems, as well as motorised louvres, generator auxiliary systems and fuel and lube tanks.

In addition, to cool the engines, a horizontal-type radiator system, rated for 50°C ambient temperature, manufactured in South Africa was used at the plant.

The company says each radiator includes 10 WEG 3 kW fan motors positioned in two cooling banks of five fans each.

“One of the challenges of the mine environment is the presence of graphite dust, which is highly conductive and must not be allowed to enter the power generation units.

“For this reason, a filter system was designed that could accommodate the high volumes of moving air required to cool the engines, while also requiring as little maintenance as possible,” said Gerrard .

As a result, a local solution was designed in the form of a custom-engineered, self-cleaning cartridge type ventilation and pressurisation fan unit, comprising four WEG 7.5 kW fan motors.

Zest Energy has also installed a 30 000 litre intermediate fuel tank to draw from the customer’s bulk fuel storage system with a duplex fuel filtration and circulation system.

“We will also provide various systems for plant auxiliary power requirements and for plant earthing and lightning protection, as well as cabling, terminations, racking and supports to all plant electrical equipment,” Gerrard said.

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