Air skid package for Caledonian nickel project

CAPS Australia has delivered the largest turnkey compressed air skid package designed, manufactured and pre-assembled in Australia to the southwest Pacific. With quality a key requirement, CAPS was awarded the contract to supply the fully configured plant based on its track record and expertise.

CAPS engineering manager Alan Kemp said the remote geographical location also meant that many factors, such as stringent wind and earthquake allowances, had to be incorporated into the design of the system.

?This project had many unique considerations and because of the remote location and difficult logistics involved, our primary aim was to complete as much of the package, including the heat of compression dryers in Australia prior to being shipped to New Caledonia,? he said.
?The remoteness and local environment there meant that labour and materials were scarce and expensive so in order to overcome this, all pipe work was prefabricated and galvanized prior to shipping which called for a high level of accuracy and modular construction.?

The compressed air package is servicing Xstrata Resources? massive Koniambo nickel project in New Caledonia. The planned smelter will have an annual production capacity of 60,000 tonnes of ferrous nickel alloy at a cost of $US2.2 billion.

The world class infrastructure comprises a laterite mine and ore transport facilities, a pyro-metallurgical ore processing plant with associated utilities, a coal-fired power plant and other infrastructures.

The location also presented another challenge that CAPS had the expertise to meet. ?New Caledonia is a French territory which therefore requires the entire assembly to conform to European CE directives, so as part of our contract, CAPS had to design and obtain CE certification for all components,? Alan explained.

The project required CAPS to demonstrate its aptitude for efficient technologies. One of the key features of this compressed air package was installing heat of compression dryers that will reduce energy consumption when producing compressed air by up to 15 per cent.
The package comprises three Ingersoll Rand C950 centrifugal compressors (9100Nm2/h each) with pre-filtration and post-filtration, two HC143 (20,000Nm2/h each) energy-efficient heat of compression water-cooled desiccant dryers and two 35,000 litre air receivers.
In addition to the equipment, CAPS Australia also selected, designed fabricated and pre-assembled all substantial interconnecting air delivery pipe work (up to 300NB) and cooling water pipe work, instrument tubing, piping supports and lagging.

Given the scale of the project, the air skid package was delivered in multiple stages. The first two stages were completed at CAPS?s Western Australian facility, which included full assembly of the plant, rigorous testing and simulation followed by pack down into 40 shipping containers that were sent to New Caledonia in August 2010.

The final stage for CAPS will be to assemble, test and commission the plant on-site in New Caledonia.

CAPS trained technicians will be on-site to ensure the plant is fully functional and finally certified prior to handover.

Source: CAPS Australia/Professional Public Relations

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