On-site heat and power for Madagascar mining project

The QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mineral sands project at Fort Dauphin in south-east Madagascar is to benefit from a new 20 MWe on-site power plant to be supplied and commissioned by Finland’s Wärtsilä Corporation.

The power plant, which will incorporate a waste heat recovery facility to also generate steam for use in a drying process in the mine plant, is due to be operational in April 2008.

The plant will include five Wärtsilä nine-cylinder type-32 diesel generating sets, with space left in the building for a sixth set. The plant will supply electricity for the ilmenite mineral sands project, including the dredging barge, process plant, village and port. An operation and maintenance agreement is also under negotiation, under which the company would be responsible for all aspects of plant operation, including hiring personnel, transfer of skills and maintaining the power plant.

The Fort Dauphin plant presents some interesting challenges owing to its very remote location. Transport of equipment to the site is a particular challenge. Ilmenite is an iron titanium oxide that is used as a raw material for titanium dioxide pigment used as an extremely white base in paint. The Fort Dauphin ore body in Madagascar is the world’s largest known, undeveloped high-grade ilmenite deposit. It has an expected mine life of 40 years.

The project is operated by QIT Madagascar Minerals, in which an agency of the Government of Madagascar has a 20% interest.
8 November 06

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