Finland-based supplier of flexible power plants for decentralized power generation, Wärtsilä, has been contracted to supply a barge-mounted power plant to serve a mining operation in Papua New Guinea.

The customer is global gold company Lihir Gold and the power plant will provide electricity to its Lihir Island gold mine from April 2011. The contract is valued at €57 million.

The barge-mounted plant will be based on Wärtsilä 20V32 engines operating on heavy fuel oil. Since the plant is planned as being an interim solution to the company’s power needs for the site, it was decided to mount the power plant on a barge so that it can be later moved to another location when no longer needed at Lihir Island.

Extra electrical power was needed at the mine since Lihir Gold is in the process of extending the facilities.

Wärtsilä has supplied barge-mounted power plants before, including some 20 power barges to the Philippines, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh. The company has also supplied more than 200 MW of power generating equipment for a number of projects in Papua New Guinea, including twelve Wärtsilä 32 type engines to Lihir Gold.