News Details Date: 09-03-2011

Sierra Rutile Powerhouse: Towards Energy-Efficient Operation

The commissioning of a new 28MW powerhouse at the Sierra Rutile Limited (SRL) mine site in Sierra Leone was completed. The completion of this project constitutes one of the determined steps SRL has been recently taking towards demonstrating its commitment to reduce operating costs and thus become more capable of facing international competition. With the new powerhouse, the cost of power generation on the SRL site will be 50% less than that of the old powerhouse, which is basically attributed to the fuel efficient operation of the engines and their reliance on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).

The construction of this powerhouse was long time coming as the success of the mine necessitated access to additional power in order to guarantee the successful operation of a second and a third dredge. It was also time to replace the old powerhouse which was getting older and more inefficient.
During the construction phase of the new powerhouse, Mantrac Sierra Leone  and Unatrac International worked together to supply 9MW (9 x 3512B Containerised Sets) of rental power through a locally-supported Customer Support Agreement (CSA).

The design and construction of the powerhouse commenced in October 2007 and was completed in November 2008 . The current power intake at SRL is approximately 9MW and is expected to reach 14MW following the commissioning of the second dredge and 16MW following the commissioning of the third dredge.

The powerhouse runs on 4 x CAT / MAK 16CM 32C engines, rated at 7.0MW at a speed of 700RPM and designed to operate with both diesel and HFO. The engines come with a 12 month warranty and full on-site support provided by one Expat Warranty Engineer and one local Mantrac Electrical Engineer, both based at the powerhouse.

The Sierra Rutile powerhouse is currently the largest single generating plant in Sierra Leone and is currently capable of generating more power than that produced by power stations in Freetown.


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