Barrick chooses Cat battery storage to enhance grid stability at Kibali

Cat microgrid system installed by Tractafric at Barrick’s Kibali gold mine. Credit: Caterpillar

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) has collaborated with Caterpillar dealer Tractafric to install 7.5 MW of battery energy storage capacity for its microgrid at the Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Now operational, Tractafric’s solution deploys the battery energy storage and Cat bi-directional power inverters (BDP) to provide grid stability, while the Cat master microgrid controller seamlessly integrates up to 45 MW of power generated by three hydroelectric power stations and 36 Cat 3512 diesel generator sets. Barrick has also employed Cat Connect remote asset monitoring for the real-time collection and off-site monitoring of performance data.

The Caterpillar grid stabilizer offsets the cyclical loading of the winding plant to reduce the spinning reserve requirement, which decreases annual diesel consumption by around 3 million litres and the associated carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 8,000 tonnes.

The hybrid energy solution adds to Tractafric’s and Caterpillar’s already substantial footprint at the Kibali mine. Barrick uses 48 Cat haul trucks, blasthole drill rigs, wheel loaders, dozers, graders, wheel dozers and water delivery systems at the Kibali mine under a contract with DTP Terrassement – Kibali Mining Services. Additionally, Tractafric supports power plant operations and maintenance around the clock with an on-site staff of 18 technicians.

Located in the DRC province of Haut-Uele, the Kibali mine is one of the largest gold mines in Africa. Barrick operates Kibali in a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) and the Congolese parastatal SOKIMO. Commissioned in September 2013, Kibali produced 808,000 oz. of gold in 2020 from open pit and underground mining operations.

Caterpillar’s hybrid energy solutions technology suite includes the master microgrid controller, connect remote asset monitoring, BDP energy storage inverters, and energy storage system modules.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)