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Koniambo Power Station

December 2011 - ongoing

Koniambo Nickel SAS / Xstrata Nickel

Kone, Northern New Caledonia

Scope of Work

Operation and maintenance of a modern 350 MW Greenfield power station that will supply power to a pyrometallurgical plant expected to produce 60,000 tonnes of nickel per annum. The contract also includes training and upskilling of the local workforce.


Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS) awarded Silcar the five-year Operate and Maintain contract for the critical integrated Island Mode power plant located in Kone, Northern New Caledonia.

The project scope required Silcar to develop an organisation of at least 80% local employees capable of Operating and Maintaining a modern integrated 350Mw power plant, comprising two 3.5 MW Black Start Generators, two 45MW gas turbines, and two 135MW fluidised bed boilers and associated steam turbines.

Project Challenges

The Koniambo Contract encompassed all aspects of on-site asset management and maintenance, including electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, condition monitoring, stores and procurement. It also involved provision of trade and support labour, budgeting and cost control, specialist services management, scheduling and planning and the introduction of improved maintenance technologies. 

To ensure delivery of very high plant availability, Silcar provided the KNS project with the tools necessary to design a maintenance and plant care program. The power plant is the only sizeable power source in the North Province, and the national power grid does not have capacity to support the smelter.

Crucial to the success of the project was the training and upskilling of the local employees. Training of operators commenced eight months ahead of commissioning the first plant items and involved a balance between classroom, OEM training and on the job experience.

Silcar also provided the total asset management and maintenance of plant and equipment at the site, including all civil, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation activity, along with all facility maintenance activities for buildings and associated infrastructure.

Silcar Solutions

Through a close working relationship with KNS, Silcar is able to deliver cost effective solutions, including:

  • A world class Safety Performance level.
  • Absolute compliance to the regulations prescribed in New Caledonia’s stringent environmental standards and also the expectations of the local community.
  • Plant availability at 99.4%
  • Agreed Heat rate levels for the Gas turbines
  • Thermal Efficiency performance measures for the turbines and boilers
  • Total Cost of Maintenance and Operations
  • Progressive increases in local employee levels reaching 80% by the end of year four.

The Alliance style contract agreed with KNS ensures full alignment between the two organisations and combined management of site activities.

Silcar is able to deploy a very experienced team of professional employees specifically hand-selected to deliver the required results. In particular, this project required the undertaking to pass on many years of experience to young and enthusiastic local employees who had never worked in heavy industry before.

Innovative Outcomes

The Koniambo contract framework is similar to the Australian Alliance association’s Model Contract. It successfully brings together two distinctly different organisations with fully aligned business goals, complementary skills and culture via an open book contract, with no contingency buried in the price. The incentives provided to Silcar are based on a number of KPIs that benefit both parties when the plant outperforms expectations.

A true win - win result encourages both parties to aim high for best possible solutions at optimum price.

Churn doesn’t deliver profit, and there is no incentive to create variations in scope to elevate profit. The profit is dependent on plant performance, not changes in scope or variations.