Onslow is a coastal town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, 1,386 kilometres north of Perth. It currently has a population of around 850 people and is in the Shire of Ashburton Local Government Area. Onslow was founded in 1883 as a port at the mouth of the Ashburton River for exporting wool from the sheep stations of the Pilbara hinterland. It was named after the then Chief Justice of Western Australia, Sir Alexander Campbell Onslow (1842–1908).
Onslow has since then become a salt mine with a pond area of 8,600 hectares. It is one of the two salt mines in Western Australia which are owned by Mitsui & Co. With a production capacity of around 2.7 million tons a year, the Onslow salt field provides a steady supply of salt to major chlor-alkali manufacturers in Japan and other Asian countries. It also supplies salt to some food processing markets across Asia.
The Onslow port is also large enough to berth ships up to 55,000 DWT, which makes it an ideal exporter for customers that require larger quantities of salt. A huge facility like this usually has good power backup system. This is where MTU Detroit Diesel came into the picture supplying the generators. Due to the harsh nature of the location, for this project the generators were enclosed inside a shipping containers specially modified to house generators.
In December 2014, Southern Cross Switchboards were given the opportunity to supply two ACB Generator Switchboards and two Auxiliary Control Panels for MTU Detroit Diesel for Onslow Salt. The ACB Generator Switchboards were rated at 3200A at 50kA for 1 second. The Auxiliary Control Panels consisted of a 100A ATS, MCBs and contactors for controlling equipment such as the fuel cooler, the water jack heater, the fuel transfer pump, the ventilation fan & the radiator fan.
This was another project completed with great success by Southern Cross Switchboards.