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E&I for Ambatovy

On the face of it the Ambatovy Nickel project in Madagascar is just another construction project for JSE AltXlisted electrical and instrumentation contractor, B&W Instrumentation & Electrical (B&W), but deeper analysis reveals a project with a difference.

“The stringent biodiversity management plan on this job makes it quite different from most other contracts,” B&W contracts director Neels Minnie says. “We’ve had social teams working in advance in all involved areas to minimise social disruption to the local communities.

“We have trained more than 150 local people in boiler-making and relevant electrical skills, which has not only contributed to the well-being of many local families but it has also proved to be a significant cost-saving exercise for the project overall.


The stringent biodiversity management plan on B&W’s Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar makes it quite different from most other contracts.

B&W is responsible for the 11KV/ 6.6KV supply and installation at the refinery and mine site and most of the electrical and instrumentation (E&I) installation on the refinery. The installation comprises 64,000 m of cable tray, 1.4 million meters of electrical cable, 771,886 metres of instrumentation cable, 4,042 light fittings, 1,170 electrical motor drives and 7,300 instruments.

Minnie says that the biggest challenge on the job has been time. “The packing and shipping of material and equipment from South Africa and the process of releasing this from customs can take up to four weeks. But in spite of this we’re on schedule to complete the work by end November 2010.”