As part of Ivanhoe Mines’ refurbishment of the historic Kipushi Zinc-Copper Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zest WEG will be supplying a range of electrical and energy solutions. Ivanhoe Mines acquired its 68% interest in the Kipushi Project in November 2011; the balance of 32% is held by the DRC’s state-owned mining company, Gécamines. 

According to Luveshen Naidoo of Zest WEG, this includes a 14MW power plant, motor control centres (MCCs), WEG medium voltage (MV) variable speed drives (VSDs) and a WEG 1 200kW MV motor for the mine’s ball mill. The company is also the preferred supplier of low voltage (LV) motors, and will supply these to a range of mechanical Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) servicing the mine. Delivery of the equipment is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2023.


“Our diesel powered plant, which will provide the mine with backup energy, has been designed to comprise 12 generator sets, each rated at 1 587kVA and 400V,” says Luveshen. “Assembled at our specialised Cape Town facility, the plant includes MV switchgear, six 3150 kVA ONAN type 400V / 6.6kV step-up transformers, a 40 000 litre fuel tank and an automated fuel system”

He highlights that splitting the plant design into smaller generating units ensured engines and alternators were readily available, securing a quicker delivery time. The configuration of the plant in this way also gives the mine greater energy security in the case of maintenance or breakdown. Inaddition, the gensets can be transported to site using conventional trucking, without the need for abnormal load vehicles. 

Mechanical supply OEM’s

For the mine’s SAG mill, Zest WEG is providing the WEG W60MV motor rated at 1 200kW, a robust unit for the demanding applications and aggressive environments found in the mining sector, says Luveshen. The reduced motor weight holds distinct benefits, he notes, including a compact base plate or plinth onto which it is mounted, and lower installation costs. The motor’s IP55 rating ensures the motor is well protected from dust or water ingress. 

As the client’s preferred brand of LV motors, the WEG W22 motor is being made available to Kipushi’s mechanical supply OEMs. Among the key benefits of this WEG IE3 motor is its energy efficiency. This preferred brand strategy makes it more cost effective for the mine to keep the necessary consignments of spares for maintenance and servicing. 

In putting together its proposals for the client, Zest WEG worked closely with the engineering consultant METC Engineering in the detailed design stage. 


First-line support for Zest WEG’s equipment will come from Panaco, the company’s Value Added Reseller (VAR) in the DRC. The Panaco team can conduct site visits and technical investigations, and has a substantial in-country stockholding to ensure rapid availability of key equipment.

“Our partners at Panaco can generate technical reports to share with Zest WEG to ensure we provide accurate and necessary specialist support,” Luveshen concludes. “We have an aftersales team who can deliver support and solutions remotely or by travelling to site.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *