Steamatic Global Recovery Restored Power Substation | New Caledonia

Steamatic Global Recovery Restored Power Substation After Electrical Fire in New Caledonia

An electrical fire occurred at a power substation serving a nickel mine in New Caledonia, leading to significant damage to both the electrical equipment and the structural integrity of the substation. The incident threatened prolonged operational downtime, potentially resulting in significant business interruption (BI) losses.

The Challenges:

  1. Complex Damage Assessment: The fire caused extensive damage to electrical systems and contaminated the substation environment.
  2. Remote Location: The mine’s remote location in New Caledonia posed logistical challenges.
  3. Language Barrier: Coordinating efforts with local labour required overcoming French-English language barriers.
  4. Urgent Timeline: Quick restoration was critical to minimise BI losses and resume normal mining operations.

The Solution:

  1. Initial Expert Consultation and Assessment:
    • Steamatic Global Recovery deployed experts to conduct an immediate and thorough damage assessment. The assessment included identifying the extent of electrical and structural damage and planning the necessary restoration steps.
  2. Scientific Swap Sampling:
    • A scientific approach was taken to sample and analyse contaminants. This helped determine the specific breakdown of contaminants present, which guided the choice of cleaning agents and restoration techniques.
  3. Mobilisation of an SGR Project Manager and Specialist Supervisors:
    • Specialists from Australia, including a project manager and restoration supervisors, were mobilised to oversee the entire restoration process. Their expertise ensured that the restoration adhered to international standards.
  4. Air Freight of Equipment, Chemicals, and Supplies:
    • Essential equipment, specialised chemicals, and necessary supplies were air freighted to New Caledonia. This ensured that the team had all the tools required to perform the restoration efficiently.
  5. Local Labour Management:
    • Local French-speaking labour was organised to assist with the general structural restoration. Overcoming language barriers was crucial for effective coordination, achieved through bilingual supervisors who facilitated communication.
  6. Technical Electrical Restoration:
    • The technical restoration of substation equipment involved cleaning, repairing, and testing all affected electrical components. This meticulous process ensured that the electrical systems were restored to operational standards.
  7. Structural Restoration and Repainting:
    • The substation’s structure underwent extensive cleaning and repainting. This not only restored its appearance but also ensured the removal of any residual contaminants that could pose future risks.

The Outcomes:

  • Rapid Restoration: The entire restoration and recovery process was completed within two weeks.
  • Significant Business Interruption Savings: The swift and efficient restoration minimised business interruption losses, enabling the mine to resume normal operations quickly.
  • Operational Excellence: The restored substation met all operational and safety standards, ensuring reliable power supply to the nickel mine.

The successful restoration of the power substation in New Caledonia by Steamatic Global Recovery showcases the importance of expertise, rapid mobilization, and effective management in handling complex industrial incidents. The project highlights how combining scientific assessment with skilled technical execution can overcome logistical and operational challenges, resulting in significant cost savings and operational continuity for businesses.

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