Trekkopje Uranium Mine
In its largest-ever contract to date, ACTOM Power Systems (formerly Alstom Power Systems) is procuring, supplying and installing the electrical equipment required for four new substations being established as part of the new Trekkopje Uranium opencast mining project currently in progress near Swakopmund in Namibia. As the electrical subcontractor, ACTOM Power Systems got the largest share of the total R340m fast-track turnkey contract awarded in mid-2008 to main contractor ACTOM Namibia by the French nuclear energy company AREVA. ACTOM Namibia has subcontracted all the civils work to contractors based in Windhoek and Swakopmund.
The mine, scheduled to commence production in 2010 from an ore reserve with an estimated life of 12 years, will draw its power supply from NamPower’s existing 400/220 kV Khan transmission substation situated north of the site. The largest substation is the intake substation at the mine, the 220/132/33 kV Trekkopje open-yard substation, which is the first of the four substations to be built. The 220 kV primary plant is being supplied by AREVA Transmission & Distribution (T&D) in Europe. ACTOM Power Systems’ sister company, ACTOM High Voltage Equipment, is supplying the 132 kV and 33 kV primary plant, while all the transformers required for this substation are being supplied by Powertech Transformers of Pretoria.
The mine will be dependent on potable water supplied by pipeline from a desalination plant that is being built about 48 km from the coast in the Skeleton Coast Recreation area, a nature conservation area.
The desalination plant will be supplied with power from the 132/11 kV Wlotzka substation, while two booster pump-stations located about 20 km apart between the plant and the mine will get their power from the 132/11 kV Dolerite and Lichen substations respectively.
To protect the environment, all three of these substations are gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) indoor units. The Skeleton Coast Recreation area is considered to be very vulnerable to interference from industrial and related activities and consequently extremely strict environmental controls apply to ensure that neither the desalination plant nor the substations cause any damage to the environment.
GIS is being used for both the 132 kV and 11 kV switchgear. The use of medium voltage GIS switchgear is unusual, Hannes Horn, ACTOM Power Systems’ contracts manager, pointed out. “The 11 kV GIS switchgear is smaller than conventional 11 kV switchgear. It is being done to reduce the footprint of the equipment to minimise the impact of the substations on the environment as far as possible – which demonstrates just how seriously the concern about the sensitive surrounding environment is having to be attended to,” he explained.
With a completion date set at end-March 2010, the substations contract is an exceptionally fast-track job. AREVA Resources Namibia undertook to have the substations built at its own cost to ensure that the tight deadline is met.
ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is a black empowered electrical engineering company that employs over 6 000 people and has an annual order intake in excess of R5bn. It has 27 operating units, 22 production facilities and 25 distribution centres throughout South Africa.
ACTOM partners Alstom France for environmental equipment and in serving the maintenance, upgrade and retrofit market for larger boilers, as well as for railway transport activities.
ACTOM holds exclusive distribution, technology and representation rights for Areva T&D in Southern Africa and maintains management, technical and commercial links to Areva T&D business units in Europe.
ACTOM formerly traded under the name Alstom South Africa and re-branded to ACTOM in September 2009.
For further information contact John McClure, ACTOM Power Systems
Private Bag 1, Bramley 2018
Tel (011) 430-8700 Fax (011) 887-9009
Date: February 4, 2010.
Caption: A view of the power transformer and 132 kV GIS switchgear in the Lichen indoor substation, one of two substations powering booster pump-stations on a pipeline supplying water to the Trekkopje mine from a desalination plant at the coast.