39 digital transformers installed in Western Australia mining operation

Koodaideri iron ore mining operation in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia will set a new benchmark for electrification, including construction of greenfield-compliant transformers that will support Anglo-Australian, multinational Rio Tinto’s metals and mining operations.

After full approval in 2018 of a US$2.6 billion investment in state-of-the-art greenfields mining and associated infrastructure, the remote site — 110 km from the town of Newman, Australia — required the construction of 166 km of railway, an airport, a camp, and road access, just to support its operation, for all intents and purposes a village of 600 people.

Whole project requires a substantial amount of power to be delivered, requiring 39 newly-constructed digital transformers.

Transformers, as an example, are no longer assets that simply step up or step down voltage, thanks to digitalization. Being able to access data via a cloud-based platform will provide mine operators with an unprecedented and real-time view of the assets supplying its site. This level of transparency and control helps operators significantly reduce costly, unplanned downtime and increase productivity, while minimizing stress from overloading.

To minimize potential fire hazards, Koodaideri project has specified the use of MIDEL 7131 — a biodegradable, synthetic ester transformer fluid which is fire-safe up to 316˚C — a vast improvement on mineral oil’s fire point of 170˚C to be used in transformers. Consequently, the mine’s transformers require a smaller footprint, don’t require fire walls, and allow simplified bunding.

Source: T&D World