Australia's largest ever solar power system is up and running in DeGrussa gold-copper mine
The largest integrated off-the-grid solar power system in Australia is officially live, sitting within the DeGrussa copper-gold mine.
Sandfire Resources, who own the underground mine in Western Australia, announced the completion of a $40million solar panel project, which saw 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels installed as part of a 10.6MW solar panel station.
Sandfire confirmed that the system was currently generating around 7 megawatts of power and is expected to reach its 10MW capacity this summer.
“This is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia and draws together a number of technologies which are widely expected to have a transformational impact on the global economy over the next decade,” says Sandfire managing director Karl Simich.
“The DeGrussa Solar Project is expected to reduce our annual diesel consumption and cut our carbon emissions by more than 12,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – a reduction of more than 15 per cent based on our reported emissions for the 2016 financial year.” he says.
Construction on the project began in July 2015.
The DeGrussa Solar Power project is owned by French renewable energy firm Neoen, with juwi Renewable Energy in charge of project development; engineering, procurement and construction, as well as operations and maintenance.
The plant was constructed by national surveying and infrastructure construction company OTOC Limited, with project financing provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and recoupable grant funding support of $20.9-million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
The DeGrussa solar project incorporated NEXTracker solar trackers. NX Horizon™ self-powered tracker represents a technological innovation and a substantial cost savings for the Australian mining industry. The mine, which operates in an isolated area roughly 560 miles (900 km) north-east of Perth, was previously powered by a diesel generator facility. The introduction of NEXTracker’s solar solution has paved the way for one of the largest integrated solar installations in the country, providing peak power load to this essential local business.
The DeGrussa Mine project is a prime example of how an established, industrial powerhouse such as the mining industry can benefit from renewable energy.
The Solar Power project is expected to achieve savings in the consumption of diesel fuel and will, reduce DeGrussa’s CO2 emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.