Client: Smoky River Coalfield mine
Location: Alberta, Canada
Overcome freezing conditions to bring power to a remote mine
An Alberta-based mining company was developing a new mine in steep mountain terrain when they hit a problem – they needed power but were miles from the grid. The Smoky River Coalfield mine needed to get up and running quickly to meet contractual agreements, but it would be a long time before the grid’s transmission lines would reach them. To add to the difficulty, the site had a small footprint, so space for generators was going to be tight. And if that wasn’t enough, working conditions on the mountain included frigid wind chills of -49°C.
This is exactly the kind of challenge that we’re good at solving, so when they called us for help we got straight to work.
Generators that stood up to the freezing conditions
Never one to step away from a challenge, we called our service centre in Alberta, who put together a system of cold-weather generators that would deliver 6 MW of power. We transported the entire package up the mountain, together with a crane to help us with the installation. Once there, we installed the cold-weather generators and other equipment that powered the entire operation from electric mining equipment, drills, and conveyors to offices and shops. Our technicians worked 12 hours a day for four months monitoring the units to troubleshoot any issues and make sure everything ran at its best.
When the transmission lines eventually reached the mine, we returned for another 17 days in freezing temperatures to dismantle the crane and generators and return them to our service centre in Leduc.
The mine was ready for production in six weeks
We worked with the mine to quickly deliver a full-scale power plant that fit within the small footprint and supplied enough power for their entire operation. The mine went into production within six weeks, allowing the company to meet customer commitments. And our workers – who are used to working in challenging environments regardless of terrain or weather conditions – made it home without frostbite or hypothermia.