The 120/11 kV mobile substation of Zest Energy will serve the construction of the initial planned mine at Kamoa-Kakula, where the existing mineral resource has been independently verified as Africa’s largest copper find. Kamoa-Kakula’s principal owners are Ivanhoe Mines, Zijin Mining and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Due to the high cost of running on diesel generators, the mine developers decided to purchase a mobile substation to interface with the network of the DRC power utility SNEL to provide power during the construction phase of the project,” Alastair Gerrard, MD at Zest Energy, says.
Although the substation will not be moved frequently, Gerrard says its mobility allows for quick and hassle-free construction and commissioning, and gives the mine the added flexibility of deploying the substation to other areas in the future.
Zest Energy – part of the Zest WEG Group – undertook the design, manufacture, supply, testing, delivery, installation and commissioning of the complete mobile substation, including the trailer, transformer and related electrical equipment. Zest Energy also provided a protection system, earthing, site work (with full commissioning and testing) and site training.
The project started in February 2016, and the unit was commissioned and handed over to the mine developer in October 2016 – in line with a challenging delivery deadline of nine months.
“Our strong network within the WEG Group, of which Zest WEG Group is part of, allowed us to work with the WEG Transmission and Distribution unit in Brazil on transformer design, manufacturing and factory testing,” Gerrard says. “We also involved WEG Transformers Africa – also a Zest WEG Group company – when it came to site assembly and testing of the mobile transformer.”