Two Rolls-Royce Trent 60 electrical generating sets have been selected to provide power for a new nickel mine in the north province of New Caledonia in the South Pacific.

The $3.8 billion project at Koniambo, a new long-life, low-cost open mine, will be capable of producing 60,000t of ferronickel a year after the first ore is processed, which is expected in the first half of 2011.

Koniambo Nickel, a joint venture owned by Xstrata Nickel and Société Minière du Sud Pacifique (SMSP), have selected two Trent wet low emissions (WLE) dual fuel gas turbine units, which will each provide up to 46MW of electrical power to supplement two 135MW steam turbine sets. The Trents are expected to provide power for the next 25 years.

Charlie Athanasia, vice-president of power generation for the Rolls-Royce energy business, said: “The Trent is the most powerful aero derivative gas turbine available for power generation. Its ability to meet wide load variations makes it the ideal choice for this mining application. This is our third contract for the pacific region to provide power equipment for the mining industry.”

Previous orders have come from Babcock and Brown Power (previously Alinta Energy) for generating sets to be installed at a remote iron ore mine in Western Australia and at a power station site in Tasmania.

The Trent 60 engines will be manufactured at the Rolls-Royce plant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and packaging of the generating sets will take place at the company’s Mount Vernon, Ohio facility. Delivery of both units is scheduled for the third quarter of 2009, with the first electricity being produced during the third quarter of 2010.