the Pueblo viejo project in the Dominican republic calls for designing and
building facilities to extract gold from ore and process it at a throughput rate
of 24,000 tons per day. The project will create 3,500 jobs and significant
revenue for the Dominican economy. Hatch’s involvement in the $2.7 billion
project was to create the first chemical process step in the extraction of gold
from refractory sulfide ores.
The gold extraction process oxidizes the sulfides with high-purity oxygen at
230°C and an atmospheric pressure of 40 to liberate submicron-sized gold.
The process occurs in four massive pressure vessels called autoclaves that
are protected by a lead membrane and an acid-resistant brick lining. Each
vessel has a capacity of more than 600 cubic meters and a gross operating
weight of 2,300 tons. Gas dispersion is done by seven agitators per vessel.
Each vessel processes approximately 6,000 tons of ore feed per day and
extracts 200,000 to 250,000 ounces of gold per year. When completed, these
vessels will be the largest refractory-lined autoclaves in the world.
The region’s rugged terrain made available space for this facility tight,
demanding the most compact layout possible while providing maintenance
access and safe operation. PlantSpace and other Bentley products allowed
all disciplines to share design information on a real-time basis. Using a 3D
environment, the team developed the layout, general arrangements, and
isometric drawings by extraction; imported terrain maps, structural steel,
and concrete models; and produced integrated models for design reviews,
presentations, and clash detection that saved more than 2 percent of
construction costs in field rework.
The central data storage allowed fast, accurate, and up-to-date information
transfer between disciplines within the company. Without using these
Bentley-enabled capabilities, this complex project would have taken longer
to execute and would have required additional staff for coordination,
checking, and supervision.