Goldfields gas pipeline program ramping up

A $140 million gas pipeline slated for WA’s Eastern Goldfields is ramping up as more piping arrives for construction.

The 292 kilometre pipeline was first announced in July last year, as part of a gas network designed to connect mines in the region to the existing Goldfields Gas pipeline via a lateral pipeline at the Murrin Murrin nickel mine, which will eventually extend past Anglo Gold’s Sunrise Dam mine and onwards to the Tropicana mine.

The power stations at both mines will be modified to run on 100 per cent natural gas, while retaining diesel back up capacity.

“Gas power generation is expected to reduce cash operating costs at both sites by between $25 to $30 per ounce,” AngloGold senior vice president Australia, Michael Erickson,said.

According to pipe construction firm APA managing director Mick McCormack “the Eastern Goldfields Pipeline can be further extended to service other mines in the region in addition to these initial contracts [with AngloGold Ashanti}”.

WA DMP lead agency project co-ordinator Graham Cobby labelled this pipeline as a significant piece of infrastructure for the state, which will provide a number of economic benefits and future energy supply to the remote region.

“The new EGGP will deliver gas from offshore fields off Western Australia’s Pilbara coast to the two mines for local power generation, which will reduce the reliance on diesel fuel and LNG transported by road,” he said.

“Access to a reliable and cost competitive energy supply that natural gas can provide is vital to these companies ensuring their mining operations have long-term viability. This is a great response to changing gas supply and demand patterns right across the country.”

Engineering, design, and procurement work for the high pressure pipeline has already begun, with first gas delivery slated for January next year.

“Construction work for associated infrastructure and facilities soon be under way, and it is anticipated the project will provide some 300 jobs during the construction phase,” Cobby said.

The third shipment of this piping, built in China, arrived in Kalgoorlie last week.

AngloGold is not the only miner turning towards gas rather than diesel or the grid for its remote WA operations.

Last year Fortescue announced the signing of a long term gas transportation agreement to slash its overheads.

The agreement will see the construction of a 270 km long Fortescue River Gas Pipeline to deliver gas from the existing Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline to Fortescue Metals Group’s 125MW Solomon Hub power station.

The pipeline will cost $178 million construct, and be built by Monadelphous and the DBP Development Group (which is a joint venture between the DUET Group and TransAlta subsidiary TEC Pilbara).

The development of the pipeline is part of the miner’s wider strategy to cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions across its operations.