24 April 2013 – First Quantum Minerals has awarded a fiercely contested contract for customised power transformers as part of the construction of Canadian company’s new Sentinel copper mine and smelter project in Zambia’s North Western province. Sentinel, which has an estimated mine life of 25 years, is part of the Trident copper/nickel project being developed by First Quantum’s local subsidiary Kalumbila Minerals.

The US$1,7 million power transformers contract was awarded to Actom Power Transformers late in 2012 for completion in mid-2013 and comprises six 20/25 MVA and two 10 MVA purpose-designed transformers, all at voltages of 33/6.6 kV.

The company’s main rivals for the contract were South East Asian manufacturers. “We were able to match them on price, while an important additional factor that also counted in our favour is our longstanding good relationship with First Quantum Minerals, which we have supplied power transformers to for various projects in Africa over the past 15 years,” divisional CEO Ronnie Russell says.

The transformers on order are of a specialised design and construction to meet the loading requirements for the project, which consist of over 80% variable speed drive loading. “The designs have been reviewed and approved by Felber Engineering of Austria, the renowned transformer design consultant, to ensure that they meet the special loading requirements as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“The special loading requirements incorporate the inclusion of additional cooling ducts in the core. This better controls the higher harmonic flux component in the yoke, thereby reducing the resultant stray losses set up by the multiple frequencies.”