PT Freeport Indonesia Wartsila
Image credit: Wartsila

Mining company PT Freeport Indonesia has selected technology company Wärtsilä for the development of a 128MW power plant in Indonesia.

The extended engineered equipment delivery order comprises fourteen Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel generating sets. The order for eight generating sets was placed in June 2020, and a further six generating sets were ordered in September.

Wärtsilä is partnering with PT PP for the installation, construction and commissioning of the power plant.

The plant will be located at Amamapare, PT Freeport Indonesia’s port site in Papua, Indonesia.

A 100km cable will be used to transport the electricity to the Grasberg mine which is located in the remote highlands of the Sudirman Mountain Range in the province of Papua, western half of the island of New Guinea.

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Neither the mine nor the port site are connected to the 50 Hz grid. The mine operates on a 60 Hz power supply. The new plant is needed to provide the necessary power as the customer extends operations from open pit to underground mining of one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits.

The Wärtsilä 34DF engines can operate on a variety of fuels. This flexibility will allow the plant to switch to operating on natural gas when it becomes locally available.

Initially, the engines will run on Indonesian B30 biodiesel.

The fast-starting flexibility of the engines will also enable the integration of energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, in the future.

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The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled for delivery between July and November 2021. The first seven engines are expected to be officially handed over in March 2022, with the remaining seven to be handed over in July 2022.

George Baninni, executive vice president, PT Freeport Indonesia, said: “We have completed open pit mining at the Grasberg minerals district, and are now developing large-scale, high-grade underground mines. For this it is critical that we have a reliable and efficient energy supply, and the Wärtsilä generating sets will deliver the power we need.”

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Kari Punnonen, energy business director, Australasia, Wärtsilä, adds: “The competitive total lifecycle cost of the Wärtsilä solution was ultimately the deciding factor in the award of this valuable contract. However, we have power plants operating in the vicinity of this site, which provided important references as part of the decision process. Our local presence in Indonesia is strong, with 5.3GW of installed base and 350 employees on the spot. We are able to provide a high level of support.”