Sandfire Resources has partnered with Juwi Renewable Energy to construct a 10.6 MW off-grid solar power station at its DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia to help power the mine and its processing operations.
According to Yahoo, the deal with the Brisbane-based renewable projects developer Juwi will see Sandfire invest less than 1 million of the total cost of the project, which is estimated to amount to approximately A$40 million.
The new Solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be the biggest integrated off-grid solar array in Australia and will establish DeGrussa as an industry leader in the use of renewable power for mining and processing operations.
The station, which will be owned and operated by Juwi, will comprise of 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels and a 6-megawatt battery.
Stretching on 20 hectares of land near the underground mine and concentrator, the power station will be integrated with the existing 20-megwatt, diesel-fired power station at DeGrussa, which is owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Power Systems.
The Australian gold and copper producer said the plant will reduce the mine’s dependence on imported diesel and deliver a significant environmental benefit by reducing its carbon emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes a year.
Sandfire’s Managing Director Karl Simich said the project represented an attractive opportunity for the company and would allow it to contribute to the global efforts of reducing CO2 emissions and potentially reduce operating costs.
“We are continuing to explore other options to reduce our energy costs, including using alternatives such as compressed natural gas for gas-fired power generation,” he said.
The solar power plant, which is expected to be commissioned by the second quarter of this year, remains subject to certain conditions precedent, including financial close.