McEwen Mining Inc. recently declared commercial production at their newest mine site in Nevada, USA, the Gold Bar mine, which is powered by Caterpillar. The customized solution consists of two Cat G3516 1,450 kWe and one G3512 1,000-kWe natural gas generator sets. The Cat G3500 series of generator sets meet most worldwide emissions requirements down to 0.5 g/bhp-hr NOx level without after treatment, according to Cat. The Caterpillar power solution also includes a six-section 4160-V paralleling switchgear lineup housed in an outdoor walk-in enclosure, complete with emergency standby controls.

Caterpillar, along with local dealer Cashman Equipment, began working with McEwen Mining in 2016 on a feasibility study for supplying power to McEwen’s future mine site. “Cashman worked with us closely to identify an integrated solution for powering our remote property in Nevada,” McEwen Mining Vice President of Projects Simon Quick said. “We were working under rigorous emission regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).”

McEwen ultimately decided to purchase the Cat natural gas-powered generator sets to supply power to all operations at the mine site, located in a rural area approximately four hours east of Reno, Nevada. In addition to burning cleaner fuel, the operating costs are more competitive than diesel-powered generator plants, Cat said.

“Many mining operations take place in remote parts of the world where access to large electric utility feeds is either unavailable or requires significant investments in electrical transmission and distribution,” said Daryl Dassinger, sales and support representative for Cashman Equipment. “Many sites have easier access to natural gas infrastructure and have discovered that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a cost-saving fuel alternative. LNG is trucked to the McEwen Gold Bar mine site and then vaporized and used as fuel for the generators. It would have taken additional time and capital cost to run a power line to the remote site.”