Leading power and technology group ABB has won a $32-million order from Kansanshi Mining, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals Ltd., for a new substation and upgrade of an existing one at Africa’s biggest copper mine.
The facilities at the Canadian-owned project will help deliver reliable power supplies to sub-Saharan Africa’s No. 1 copper mine being built in northwestern Zambia; the order was booked in Q2 with completion expected in 2014.
Zambia’s economy is deeply dependent on copper mining, accounting for around 80% of GDP, and the new mine will reinforce its standing as the No. 8 producer globally. The asset is also expected to bring employment in the Zambezi Basin, with a new town being built to support it.
The Zambian substations will enhance transmission and power supply to the operations, according to Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “Our advanced technologies, capability and experience play a key role in the execution of complex and time-critical projects,” he said.
ABB will further supply telecommunications and solar photovoltaic-powered repeater stations to facilitate digital signal transmissions via fiber-optic cables to a remote-end substation 400 km away.
In addition, the new substation will serve as a main node in the new 330 kV transmission ring linking the capital of Lusaka with the copper belt area via two main supply transmission line systems to improve power quality in the Zambian network.