ABB has won an order worth around $32 million from Kansanshi Mining plc, a subsidiary of Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FQM), for the construction of a new substation and upgrade of an existing one. The facilities will help provide power supplies to Africa’s biggest copper mine, currently being constructed in the northwestern province of Zambia.

Global demand for raw materials is one of the main growth drivers in Africa. The Zambian economy is highly dependent on the copper mining industry, which accounts for around 80 % of the country’s gross domestic product. The new mine will help reinforce the country’s number eight global position in terms of copper
production. The mining project is also expected to bring employment opportunities in the Zambezi Basin area, with a completely new town being built to support it.

The turnkey project encompasses design, engineering, supply and installation. Key product supplies include high- and medium-voltage air-insulated switchgear and power transformers. The substation will also be equipped with automation, control and protection systems conforming to international IEC 61850 standards, to enable local and remote monitoring and control the power assets.
ABB will also supply telecommunications systems and solar photovoltaic-powered repeater stations to facilitate reliable long-distance transmission of digital signals via fiber-optic cables to a remote-end substation located some 400 km away.
The new substation will be a main node in the new 330 kV transmission ring linking the capital Lusaka and the copper belt area with two main supply transmission line systems and will help improve power quality in the Zambian network. The project is scheduled for completion by 2014.