Design, Construction, and Commissioning of Air Separation Units in Remote Locations

Author(s): D. McMullen, J. Price, C. Ugarenko, K. van Warmerdam, C. Kember, M. Pearson, M. Thayer
The 53rd Conference of Metallurgists, COM, September 29, 2014, Vancouver, BC .


In July 2012, Hatch Ltd. and Air Products & Chemicals Inc. completed construction and commissioning of a 4000 tpd O2 cryogenic air separation unit (ASU) for Barrick Gold’s Pueblo Viejo Project located in central Dominican Republic. The ASU produces high pressure gaseous oxygen, which is used for the oxidation of refractory sulphide ore within the pressure oxidation (POX) circuit. As a result of the project’s remote location and tropical climate, many challenges were faced over the course of construction, commissioning and start-up of the ASU. These challenges included adequate preservation of equipment due to dusty and humid site conditions, final assembly and erection of the cryogenic distillation columns on site, limited spare parts inventory/availability, and an unfinished power source for plant commissioning. This paper discusses the steps taken by Hatch and Air Products to successfully design,construct, commission and start up the largest stand-alone ASU plant for a POX application in the metallurgical industry.