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Wärtsilä Operations & Maintenance Agreement ensures production reliability for Argentinian lithium mine

Apr 25, 2024, 13:00 by Wärtsilä Corporation

Technology group Wärtsilä has signed a three-year Operations & Maintenance (O&M) agreement (with an option to extend for two more years) with Eramine Sudamerica, a subsidiary of the French group Eramet. The Eramet Group has a long history of investment, processing, and innovation, making it one of the key players in mining and metallurgy worldwide. The agreement covers the power plant supplying electricity to the company’s lithium mine, located on the Centenario Ratones salt flat, in Salta, Argentina. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in March 2024. Eramine Sudamérica is set to begin production in 2024, and the first ton of lithium carbonate is expected for the same year. The projected nominal capacity of 24,000 annual tons is expected to be attained by 2025.

The power plant is newly built and has a capacity of 28 MW from four Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on natural gas. Three engines will be utilised to deliver 20 MW of power to the mine, with one engine in standby mode. The remote location of the mine means that there is no connection to the grid, and the facility is reliant on the power plant to supply all its electricity. Operational reliability is therefore essential to maintain production schedules, which will be supported by the performance guarantees and Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centers covered under the agreement.

“We cannot operate without power, so it makes sense for us to have the O&M experts operate and maintain the plant. This ensures continuous reliability and performance of the plant, while we can focus on the business of mining lithium,” says Leonardo Guevara, Director of Supply Chain, Eramine Sudamerica.

“Wärtsilä has a depth of experience in O&M agreements to deliver peace of mind for customers across the globe. We ensure the continued availability of the power plant, and support this with performance guarantees. We are providing Eramine high energy availability to ensure continuous mine production throughout the year” comments Jorge Alcaide, Energy Business Director, AMER, Region South at Wärtsilä Energy.

The mine is situated approximately 3,800 meters above sea level and has an arid climate. Furthermore, the site is subject to strong gusts of wind and low temperatures that can reach -18ºC. The Wärtsilä 34SG engines are designed to withstand these demanding operating conditions with no negative impact on efficiency or power output, and they also demand minimal water consumption. They also offer a unique fast-starting capability, which will enable rapid response to fluctuations inherent to renewable generation, should the customer add solar power.

Media contact for more information on this release:

Katri Pehkonen
Communications Manager
Wärtsilä Energy
Mob: +358 50 591 6180

Image caption: Wärtsilä has signed a three-year Operations & Maintenance agreement with Eramine Sudamerica, a subsidiary of the French group Eramet. The agreement covers the power plant supplying electricity to the company’s lithium mine, located on the Centenario Ratones salt flat, in Salta, Argentina. © Eramet  

All Wärtsilä releases are available at www.wartsila.com/media/news-releases and at news.cision.com/wartsila-corporation where also the images can be downloaded. Use of the image(s) is allowed only in connection with the contents of this press release. Wärtsilä images are available at www.wartsila.com/media/image-bank.

Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our partners to accelerate their decarbonisation journeys through our market-leading technologies and power system modelling expertise. These cover decarbonisation services, future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS Digital Energy Platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 79 GW of power plant capacity and 125 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,800 professionals in more than 280 locations in 79 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2023, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 6.0 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.

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