MAN Energy Solutions is supplying ten MAN 20V35/44G gas engines with a combined capacity of over 100 MW to supply electricity for steel works at the El Mutún iron ore mine on the border with Brazil.

The El Mutún mine is one of the largest iron ore mines in the world. It is estimated there could be over 40 billion tons of ore in an area of 75 square kilometres. The site does not just mine the ore but also processes it into steel directly onsite, which requires large-scale industrial machinery with high energy needs, such as blast furnaces and rolling mills.

“When it comes to processing steel, large and in particular spontaneous load changes are one of the biggest energy supply challenges. Due to the remote location of the El Mutún mine, it simply isn't possible to ensure satisfactory coverage through the national power grid. Instead, our localised power plant solution [provides a] … reliable and independent supply of electricity at all times,” commented Martin Höhler, head of Region Asia Pacific at MAN Energy Solutions. “Our 35/44G gas engines reach their full output in less than five minutes and can handle quick load changes effortlessly.”

Bolivia has rich natural gas deposits and therefore a good gas infrastructure. This means there is a secure supply of local natural gas for the power plant.

Since the mine is located in the heart of South America and very difficult to access by road, the engines have to be delivered by water via the Paraná River. Initially they were transported on barges from Uruguay via Argentina and Paraguay around 2400 km upstream to Bolivia.