ABB’s STATCOM improves power quality for two major gold mines in Canada

2012-05-23 - Large mine and processing plants consume high amounts of electricity and require power quality equipment to maintain voltage stability and a high power factor. ABB’s STATCOM technology helps Northgate Minerals Corporation and Goldcorp Inc. improve power quality for a more efficient and stable operation.

Young-Davidson mine project
Northgate Minerals Corporation is a gold and copper producer with mining operations, development projects and exploration properties in Canada, Australia and the US. The company’s Young-Davidson project covers the development of a new mine, located in Matachewan Ontario. Once completed, the project will consist of 17 MW of load connected to the 115 kV circuit from Kirkland Lake. AMEC Americas Ltd., responsible for the EPC of the new mine, turned to ABB for a STATCOM solution.

ABB’s PCS100 solution for Young-Davidson consisted of the design, manufacture and testing of six 4.5 MVAr STATCOM units, assembled in outdoor enclosures (40’ ISO containers, housing 4 x 2.25 MVA inverter lineups and controls). It also included one 9.0 MVA ABB step-down oil-filled transformer for one unit (115kV – 13.8kV). ABB carried out system studies to confirm the STATCOM performance and provided onsite training for the PCS100 technology.

The STATCOM regulates the grid voltage by providing reactive power to the grid in either capacitive or inductive VAr sourcing. The reactive power sourcing is done through IGBT-based inverters and the power electronics low voltage inverter platform PCS100.

Musselwhite gold mine expansion
Goldcorp Inc. is the fastest-growing, lowest-cost senior gold producer, with operations and development projects throughout the Americas. Its Musselwhite mine, located on Opapamiskan Lake in Ontario, went into commercial production in 1997. For the expansion of the mine the company decided to modify an existing load supply point through a 3.2km extension of 115 kV transmission line serving the current facility. The total combined load was expected to increase to 20 MVA (18 MW at 0.9 PF inductive), with 8 MW at the new substation. ABB conducted a study to assess the expansion’s impact on the IESO controlled grid reliability. The issues identified were: excessive bus voltage fluctuations at the Esker substation during operation of a large hoist motor; voltage criteria violations at the mine point of connection following a contingency on the IESO controlled grid that required load reduction.

The solution adopted was a ± 5 MVAr STATCOM and one 5 MVAr 13.8 kV capacitor bank, which allowes the Musselwhite mine expansion project to operate at full 18 MW load and meet IESO post contingency voltage criteria. ABB’s PCS100 STATCOM also provides dynamic reactive power support to limit voltage sags caused by operation of the 4600 hp skip hoist motor to 1.5% at the 115 kV bus.

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    Containerized STATCOM units delivered for Young-Davidson project
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