Air Products’ air separation unit (ASU) technology is now onstream at what is the largest pressure oxidation (POX) gold production facility in the world located in Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic.

Air Products worked closely with Hatch Ltd and Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation (PVDC) on this sale of equipment to design a plant incorporating two Air Products 2,000 tonne per day (TPD) cryogenic oxygen units in order to satisfy the complex operating requirements of PVDC’s advanced pressure oxidation technology used for gold extraction at the facility.

The combined 4,000 TPD stand-alone ASUs make up the largest single-site oxygen requirement for a POX application in the mining industry.  The Pueblo Viejo site is reportedly one of the world’s largest new gold assets and has a more than 30 year projected mine life with potential gold reserves of over 25 million ounces.  This is the second set of oxygen plants Air Products has supplied into the Dominican Republic for gold extraction in the last few years.

“This project required a real team approach during all phases to make it successful.  We requested that the engineering design of the ASUs focus on energy efficiency with the ability to operate in a challenging location and environment.  The autoclave plant requires oxygen to operate, so the need to have a reliable oxygen supply to meet the needs of this plant consistently is very important,” said Kevin Fraser, director Autoclave Technology at Hatch.

“Air Products was honored to be selected by PVDC for this project. The mining industry is a strategic focus for Air Products. We work to understand the nature of each project requirement from an end-customer’s perspective, in this case PVDC, as well as from the perspective of engineering firms such as Hatch. Delivering plants, services, and products that exceed customer expectations is a value that is widely embraced throughout our company,” said Steve Jones, senior vice president and general manager, Tonnage Gases, Equipment and Energy at Air Products. 

Jones added that Air Products has a full range of products and services to meet mining customer needs including industrial gases supply, operating and maintenance services for gases plants, merchant gas supply where available, and amines for flotation requirements. 

In addition to the equipment sale, Air Products also helped provide training for the local PVDC operations team through its Customer Plant Support after-market services group. PVDC is a joint venture of Barrick Gold Corporation (60%), the top gold producer in the world, and Goldcorp Inc (40%), one of the world’s fastest growing senior gold producers.  Air Products worked with Barrick and as a subcontractor to Hatch in the design, building and commissioning of the facility’s equipment.