Kansanshi Mining PLC, a subsidiary of Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FQM), has awarded ABB a $32 million contract for the construction of a new substation and upgrade of an existing one at Africa’s largest copper mine. The facilities will help to provide reliable power supplies to the mine that is being built in the northwestern province of Zambia.
Global demand for raw materials is one of the main growth drivers in Africa. The Zambian economy is highly dependent on the copper mining industry, which accounts for around 80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The new copper mine will be the biggest of its kind on the African continent and will help reinforce the country’s number eight global position in terms of copper production. The mining project is also expected to bring employment opportunities in the Zambezi Basin area, with a completely new town being built to support it.
ABB is present in more than 20 countries in Africa with around 5,200 employees. The company is aiming to grow its business in the region at least twice as fast as the global GDP growth rate through 2015.
“These substations in Zambia will enhance transmission capacity and improve reliability and quality of power supply to the mining operations,” said Brice Koch, Head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “Our advanced technologies, project management capability and extensive experience play a key role in the successful execution of such complex and time-critical projects.”
The turnkey project encompasses design, engineering, supply and installation. Key product supplies include high- and medium-voltage air-insulated switchgear and power transformers. The substation will also be equipped with automation, control and protection systems conforming to international IEC 61850 standards, to enable local and remote monitoring and control the power assets.
ABB will also supply telecommunications systems and solar photovoltaic-powered repeater stations to facilitate reliable long-distance transmission of digital signals via fiber-optic cables to a remote-end substation located some 400 kilometers away.
The new substation will be a main node in the new 330 kV transmission ring linking the capital Lusaka and the copper belt area with two main supply transmission line systems and will help improve power quality in the Zambian network. The project is scheduled for completion by 2014.