EPCM was appointed by Sibanye Gold to determine the feasibility of converting a fleet of underground locomotives to operate on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) as opposed to the current fuel medium (diesel). The locomotives operate 2km underground at the Beatrix mine of Sibanye Gold.
The purpose of the study is to generate investor comfort while initiating the front-end engineering design, on a high-level basis. The study also determined the gas throughput required for the current fleet of locomotives.
- Determining the gas throughput required for the current fleet of locomotives;
- Determining the feasibility of converting the current fleet to CNG versus procuring an entire new fleet;
- High level design of a CNG daughter station for required throughput;
- Erecting the CNG daughter station above or below ground. This included routing high pressure flexi pipe from the above ground daughter station to the underground filling point versus having low pressure gas lines feeding a daughter station situated at the below ground filling point;
- Determining the estimated cost saving generated by operating on CNG as opposed to Diesel;
- Determining the IRR (Interest rate of return) and payback period;
- Determining the trucking solution to transport CNG from a mother station to the daughter station; and
- Executing a high-level risk assessment of having high pressure gas below ground.