Caterpillar Powers 3.2-MW Natural Gas Power Plant at McEwen Gold Bar Mine

McEwen Mining Inc. recently declared commercial production at their newest mine site in Nevada, USA, the Gold Bar mine, powered by Caterpillar. The customized solution consists of two Cat® G3516 1,450 ekW and one G3512 1,000 ekW natural gas generator sets. The Cat G3500 series of generator sets meet most worldwide emissions requirements down to 0.5 g/bhp-hr NOx level without aftertreatment. The Caterpillar power solution also includes a six-section 4160V paralleling switchgear lineup housed in an outdoor walk-in enclosure, complete with emergency standby controls.

Caterpillar, along with local dealer Cashman Equipment, began working with McEwen Mining in 2016 on a feasibility study for supplying power to McEwen’s future mine site. “Cashman worked with us closely to identify an integrated solution for powering our remote property in Nevada,” states Simon Quick, vice president, projects of McEwen Mining Inc. “We were working under rigorous emission regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In addition to the emissions requirements, site conditions were difficult. Gold Bar evaluation is at 6,400 feet altitude and experiences temperature swings ranging from negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The design requirements for this project were stringent.”

McEwen ultimately decided to purchase the Cat natural gas-powered generator sets to supply power to all operations at the mine site, located in a rural area approximately four hours east of Reno, Nevada. In addition to burning cleaner fuel, the operating costs are more competitive than diesel-powered generator plants.

“Many mining operations take place in remote parts of the world where access to large electric utility feeds is either unavailable or requires significant investments in electrical transmission and distribution,” states Daryl Dassinger, sales and support representative for Cashman Equipment. “Many sites have easier access to natural gas infrastructure and have discovered that liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a cost-saving fuel alternative. LNG is trucked to the McEwen Gold Bar mine site and then vaporized and used as fuel for the generators. It would have taken additional time and capital cost to run a power line to the remote site.”

“We are pleased with the result of this power supply solution for our project,” Quick said. “Caterpillar was able to meet our power needs, and they were also able to provide us the factory EPA certification we needed, which was equally important to us. Cashman has been a strategic partner throughout the entire project. Commissioning of the generators went very well.  We look forward to working with Cashman for future projects.”

Caterpillar is the leading power generation provider with power systems engineered to deliver unmatched flexibility, expandability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. With parts and service available globally, Caterpillar offers worldwide product support through its comprehensive service and dealer network, where technicians are trained to service every aspect of the equipment.