Wärtsilä technology for Malian mines

3 June 2020

The first order for Wärtsilä’s new Modular Block generating units has been placed by Aggreko, for deployment at Resolute Mining’s Syama off-grid gold mine in Mali, Africa. The order is for four Modular Block enclosures, with one medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 engine in each, providing a total installed capacity of 40 MW. The contract is the first placed under a co-operation agreement between Wärtsilä and Aggreko announced in June 2019.

Above: Wa¨rtsila¨ describes its Modular Block as a “pre-fabricated, modularly configured, and expandable enclosure for sustainable power generation”


The new Modular Block units will replace the existing diesel generators currently powering the mine. Thanks to the higher efficiency of the new engines, there will be “substantial monthly savings in fuel costs” and their fast-starting and load following capabilities “will facilitate the integration of renewables into the mine’s energy system.”

The agreement with Aggreko includes an option to add a fifth 10 MW unit to the power plant.

Meanwhile, at the Fekola mine in Mali, Wa¨rtsila¨ has been contracted to design and engineer a 17 MW/15 MWh energy storage system based on its GEMS energy management software platform. The order was placed by B2Gold, a Canada based gold-mining company.


Above: PV, part of a hybrid energy system for Burkina Faso gold mine


Fekola is the first mine in the region to add energy storage and solar to its operations and the GEMS technology will also control a new 30 MW solar plant currently under construction.

GEMS – which uses AI and automated decision-making based on real-time and forecat data, including load demand and weather – will continuously optimise energy production for the entire mine to achieve the lowest levelised cost of electricity (LCOE), at the same time securing grid stability and maximising uptime.

“We wanted to optimise electricity generation at the mine using solar and energy storage”, said Jan Clausen, project manager at B2Gold. “A key part of this solution is Wa¨rtsila¨’s state-of-the-art GEMS technology; it was an easy decision.”

The payback time for hybrids at mines is typically short, since the cost of supplying fuel to remote locations can be excessive.

Wa¨rtsila¨ has previously worked on similar hybrids in Africa, a gold mine in Burkina Faso being its first such project.

“Hybrid solutions with renewable energy sourced power operations, are a realistic and effective means for increasing energy reliability and lowering operating costs for the mining sector,” commented Risto Paldanius, business development director, energy storage & optimisation at Wa¨rtsila¨.

Wa¨rtsila¨’s total installed base in Africa is over 7400 MW.

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