Gold Fields has entered an order with ABB to bring a power and automation system to its remote Salares Norte project in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.
The scope of the work includes six electrical rooms and an integrated digital system based on ABB’s Ability 800xA distributed control system (DCS) and will serve to help the mine’s location and climatic instability obstacles.
The work at the open-pit gold-silver operation in the Andes Mountains also includes a dynamic process simulator to allow checks on all control logics and for operator training purposes, a power and process control library, and Camera Connect (the ABB video system embedded in the control platform for optimised process monitoring).
“ABB Ability Knowledge Manager will be used to manage information production through Plant Information Management System (PIMS), alongside ABB Ability Asset Vista Condition Monitoring (integrated with SAP), an Extended Operator Workplace (EOW) as an integrated control room at the site, a collaboration table and 800xA Smart Client stations to enable read-only access to displays via a web browser,” ABB said.
The goal of the outfitted system is also to use a single platform to reduce technical risks and number of interfaces to enable the miner to unify processes.
“The digital aspect is critical to this project due to its remote location – the nearest town being Diego de Almagro, 180 km away, the altitude of the project and adverse weather conditions which make site access and fieldwork difficult especially during the winter,” said Max Combes, project director of Gold Fields.
“Gold Fields has developed digital infrastructure through initiatives at operations around the world. ABB’s complete solution, integrated engineering and remote operations technology will enable us to build on this digital capability and overcome the particular challenges at Salares Norte.”
Salares Norte is expected to produce 3.7 million ounces of gold over an initial mine life of 11 years, and is estimated to be a US$834 million project.