Portable Power Distribution Centre: Macraes Gold Mine

Portable Power Distribution Centre: Macraes Gold Mine

OceanaGold Corporation, Macraes Gold Mine, Otago, New Zealand

​The Client

OceanaGold operates New Zealand’s largest gold mine, Macraes, located 100km north of Dunedin. The Macraes Project consists of the Macraes Open Pit gold mine which has been operating since 1990 and the Frasers Underground mine which was commissioned in 2008, as well as an adjacent processing plant.

The Brief

OceanaGold concluded that upgrading its equipment at the Macraes gold mine would be beneficial to its business. EIS was engaged by the project’s main contractor, Switchbuild, to develop a new power distribution centre to provide the power source and house the motor controllers for the mine.

The Solution

EIS designed and developed a portable power distribution centre and switchroom which was assembled and fitted out in Invercargill before being trucked to the Macraes mine. Based on a high-level brief of OceanaGold’s operating requirements, EIS designed detailed engineering and electrical plans for the power distribution centre, which was structurally designed and fabricated by our mechanical partners and then fitted out by EIS. Just before completion the client visited our mechanical partners’ workshop to perform a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) to ensure that there would be no issues once the power distribution centre arrived on site.

The Challenges

The Macraes mine is a remote site with challenging terrain, which means that getting the materials and labour to build anything on-site is a time consuming and costly process. Building a portable power distribution centre remote from site and trucking it to site saved time, resources and a significant amount of money.

The Results

The portable power distribution centre was completed on-time and on-budget. It has been commissioned at the Macraes mine site and is operating as per specification. One of the key advantages that the portable power distribution centre offers over traditional fixed power distribution centres is that it can be moved around as mining progresses, which means that the power source and motor controllers will always be close to the current work site.

What the Client Said

We are really pleased with the portable power distribution centre EIS have designed for our Macraes site. It is the perfect solution for our industry and we are now looking at the possibility of introducing similar ones into some of our other locations.

Ian Harrington, Electrical Technical Supervisor


EIS were the perfect partners for us to work with on this project. Their innovative design together with top notch workmanship and excellent communication enabled this job to run smoothly and ensured that the end product did not just meet but ultimately exceeded our client’s expectations.

Glyn Howell, Electrical Design Engineer