• Hatch

    Sulfuric Acid Plant in the DRC

    Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Project Summary

    • Hatch – Sulfuric Acid Plant in the DRC – Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Located in a remote area of Africa in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a new sulfuric acid plant manufactures thousands of tons of acid to sustain one of the largest copper mining operations in the DRC. The USD 245 million project features a 1,400-ton-per-day manufacturing facility and a 20-megawatt electrical waste power generation system. Hatch was retained as the engineering, procurement, construction, and manufacturing contractor to deliver the plant and meet the client’s fast-tracked timeline. Faced with geographical, environmental, and logistical challenges, Hatch required integrated technology to digitalize and streamline workflows to accommodate the accelerated schedule.


The project team modeled and analyzed the structural steel components and created a digital twin model of the entire acid plant. Establishing a connected data environment helped manage and share information across five globally dispersed engineering offices, facilitating digital communication with on-site personnel, commissioning teams, and installation contractors. Hatch developed a completely paperless delivery process, implementing digital workflows and automating previously manual processes to overcome the project challenges.


Working in the connected data environment streamlined digital workflows to cut six weeks from the delivery schedule. The integrated applications helped optimize engineering quality and industrialize project delivery, setting an industry benchmark that reduced production ramp-up time by 23 weeks. Extending the application of the intelligent 3D model for material extraction and procurement saved 10% to 15% in purchasing costs for the client. Using the digital twin reduced transportation costs by four times, shipping bulk pipe materials instead of prefabricated piping spools across 2,800 kilometers of roads with gravel sections.


Hatch used STAAD, OpenPlant, and OpenBuildings Designer, to optimize design of the acid plant to meet strict regulatory requirements while meeting the fast-tracked schedule. Leveraging Bentley’s intelligent design and analysis applications within the connected data environment managed by ProjectWise enabled the project team to upstream quality engineering processes, improve procurement and logistical strategies, and minimize construction rework. The 3D digital twin for all production needs eliminated generation of traditional paper drawings, improved the piping and steel fabrication process, and maximized opportunities in data-centric procurement.

Project Playbook: LumenRT, MicroStation, Navigator, OpenBuildings Designer, OpenPlant, ProjectWise, STAAD

  • Hatch established a collaborative digital strategy to deliver a sulfuric acid plant in the DRC, overcoming geographical and logistical challenges that included a remote location and a globally distributed project team.
  • Using Bentley’s integrated modeling applications to develop a digital twin accelerated operational readiness and reduced capital expenditure costs by 20%.
  • Extracting material quantities for purchasing directly from the 3D model helped move the digital process upstream, resulting in a three-month schedule savings.
  • The 100% digital solution enabled Hatch to deliver the project in under two years, from feasibility to start up.
  • “Hatch has done several paperless projects, and it established an improved digital way of working that we offer on all our projects. The benefits that our clients gain from our approach span not only the engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) project delivery phase but extend well into operations and maintenance. We are excited with what Bentley is developing for digital twins and are committed to finding ways to further improve the outcomes from our clients with these technologies.”

    Randy McMeekin Global Managing Director Hatch