Generator sets with alternate reality

Paul Boughton

Super-mine’s choice of smart alternators keeps ambitious project in Madagascar running

The largest capital project in the history of Madagascar, the Ambatovy Project, has deployed generator sets equipped with a well-known range of alternators to help meet its requirement for prime power. They play an essential role as part of a US$15 million combined mine and processing project that is set to make a substantial contribution to the country’s future prosperity.

“In total, 30 generator sets using Stamford P7 alternators were installed at the site, and have since ensured the supply of power that is crucial to this project, which has the potential to sustainably boost the economy of Madagascar and the standard of living for its people,” reports Nicola Morgan-Evans, general manager for Commercial Power Systems at Cummins South Africa, an official Stamford AvK distributor.

The Ambatovy Project represents the country’s biggest capital spend to date. It is a large tonnage nickel and cobalt project with annual production capacity estimated at 60,000 tons of nickel, 5,600 tons of cobalt and approximately 190,000 tons of ammonium sulphate. It has an estimated project life of 27 years, and is one of the world’s biggest lateritic nickel mines.

The Stamford P7 alternators used on the project are from a range of modern and versatile alternators that have become a popular choice for applications requiring reliable power in harsh environments. Available from 910 to 2,750 kVA, the P7 range can be supplied in 4 pole or 6 pole, single or two bearing AVR controlled versions. Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) technology is fitted as standard, and the range’s 2/3 pitch windings avoid excessive neutral currents.

The generator sets into which the alternators are fitted are actually a rental-spec design. However, thanks to the durability of their components and their ability to operate reliably in the harsh environmental conditions of the project, the customer felt confident in purchasing the generator sets outright. Support, service and a commitment to delivering and setting up in a short time frame were further key factors in the decision to purchase.

The 1,250 kVA generator sets, equipped with Cummins KTA50-G3 engines, provide 37.5 MVA of power and operate 24/7 from two plants, each supplying 18.75 MVA. Each plant is equipped with 15 x C1250 D2R units for prime power, 15 x 0.4 kV/11 kV step-up transformers, two 20ft containerised MV cells including Digital Management Control system DMC300s and MV switchgear.

The Ambatovy project is already contributing greatly to the local economy – around 12,000 workers were hired directly and indirectly during the construction phase alone. A local development programme provides a human resources registration centre with occupational and technical training programmes for small to medium sized local companies. More than 200 public hearings were held to examine the project’s social and environmental issues, which led to the adoption of environmental conservation models based on World Bank guidelines.

Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development

Ambatovy has won the 2015 Syncrude Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development for having successfully implemented a range of solutions for sustainable development in Madagascar. The award, issued by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), acknowledges companies or individuals that are 'active seekers of sustainability solutions'. At a ceremony in Montreal on May 11, 2015, Sherritt International, Ambatovy’s operator, received this award.

Ambatovy strives for sustainable development in the communities where it operates as well as in its host country through the implementation of several programmes, including a biodiversity management programme that targets ‘no net loss’; a ‘buy locally, hire locally’ policy that is supported by leading-edge initiatives; agricultural skills training for more than 18, 000 people from local communities, developmental partnerships with international organisations; and innovative archaeological and retrenchment programs.

The Syncrude Award is the fourth sustainability award Ambatovy has received in the past 18 months. The other awards include: Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Award for Ambatovy’s biodiversity programme; Excellence in Corporate Responsibility Award in the social enterprise creation category for the Ambatovy Local Business Initiative; UNAID’s Good Practice Award for Ambatovy’s contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Madagascar.

As outlined in its Sustainability Framework, Ambatovy is committed to providing a safe and rewarding workplace, working ethically, demonstrating environmental responsibility, engaging stakeholders and benefiting communities.

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