Air Products has signed a contract to build an air separation unit (ASU) for Lihir Gold Ltd, in Papua New Guinea.

The plant, which is situated over 500 miles from Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea, will produce over 1,800 tpd of oxygen, almost doubling the total oxygen production on the island.

The oxygen is used to oxidize the ore extracted from the mine, converting sulphide minerals to sulphates to improve the recovery of gold in downstream processing.

Dave Edmondson, Engineering Vice President for Air Products in Europe said, “We are very proud to have been selected for this project. Lihir Gold Ltd required a highly efficient plant, as it’s in a remote place, making all transport of fuel very expensive.”

He added, “Our innovative approach to optimize value against power, coupled with our superior technical expertise has enabled us to offer the right solution for Lihir Gold Ltd.”

Graham Folland, Executive General Manager of Corporate Development at Lihir Gold was also confident about the new contract, “We have been impressed with Air Products’ ability to listen to our requirements and translate those in a safe and reliable solution. The Air Products team worked very closely with us, which gives us the confidence that they are in a true partnership with us.”

The plant is due to be on-stream at the end of 2010.