Lihir mine improves equipment to increase production


NEWCREST’s Lihir mine in New Ireland has successfully improved the operating speed of one of its waste rock barges recently as part of its continuous efforts and commitment in reducing cost and improving the business.
Lihir’s marine maintenance team, under the mobile maintenance department, have successfully delivered this improvement.
Marine supervisors Alex Tabel and Regist Kahea, both Papua
New Guineans, took lead in the project.
A statement from the company said improvements to Lihir’s performance such as these help increase production and reduces all-in sustaining cost.
As Lihir returns to profitability, the economic contributions flowing into the national economy through royalties and taxes would continue to grow.
The statement said in the financial year 2017, Lihir paid K84 million in royalties and K157 million in taxes.
The waste rock barges at Lihir Alawir (which means “rough seas” in Lihir language) and Aminiel (“calm seas”), had been operating at low speeds due to high coolant temperatures.
According to Kahea, the barges’ operating speed declined over the years and was operating at moderate speeds to compensate for higher engine temperatures. The
team then initiated the project to address several faulty factors that included: raw water flow rate, engine thermostat temperature range, propelling and heat exchange sizing.
The team installed a secondary raw water heat exchanger on Alawir to double the capacity of its cooling system.
Temperature differentials were tested before and after installation and produced results that exceeded targets.
Each barge carries a total of 1650 tonnes per load but with this improvement, the barges may be allowed to carry an extra 110,000 tonnes per year.
Installation and testing on the Alawir has been completed while Aminiel is currently going through the installation and testing process.
Work on the Aminiel is expected to complete by January 2018.

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