Aggreko, a leading provider of mobile and modular power solutions, has signed a contract with Gold Fields to provide a 25.9 MW hybrid solar and thermal power solution to the Salares Norte open-pit mine in Chile.
This “ground-breaking solution” has been designed to provide power for the entire mine, which sits at an altitude of 4,500 m in the Andes mountain range and is 190 km from the nearest town, Aggreko says.
The hybrid system will comprise both tailormade high-altitude performance diesel gensets and Aggreko Solar Power units, optimised for off-grid applications and ready to meet the extreme wind conditions these units will experience.
The gensets will each deliver 772 kW (for 16 MW of power in total) and will incorporate spinning reserve and cold reserve units to efficiently manage peaks in demand, the company says. This diesel generation system will be integrated with solar units, which, once installed, will provide 9.9 MW of emission-free power.
“The system will deliver a reliable, modular power supply across all five of the mine’s distribution points, whilst surpassing the Chilean government’s environmental standards as well as Gold Fields’ requirement for a minimum of 20% renewable power generation for mining operations,” Aggreko said.
Once complete, it will achieve $7.4 million in cost of energy savings over the next decade and a further $1.1 million in carbon tax offset over the Aggreko project lifetime in addition to 104,000 t of carbon emissions savings, Aggreko estimates.
“The modular rental solution also supports a consolidated capital expenditure outlay, allowing for greater cost control and variable commitments whilst ensuring continued operational excellence at the mine,” it added.
The deployment of this hybrid solution follows Aggreko’s recent launch of Aggreko Solar Power, which will be deployed to provide power at the site. This solution is designed for weak or off-grid energy applications, providing clean and efficient power supply to a range of operations without long-term financial commitments.
Pablo Varela, Latin America Managing Director from Aggreko, said: “As the energy transition continues to gather pace, our customers are increasingly looking for more flexible power solutions which can reliably support operations whilst reducing carbon emissions and lowering costs.
“Hybrid products, such as the one we are deploying for Salares Norte, enable a reliable and flexible power supply whilst reducing carbon emissions, thanks to the incorporation of Aggreko Solar Power units as part of the system. Having a standardised product such as this provides the kind of consistency and reliability which our customers have come to expect from us.”
The 10-year contract between Aggreko and Gold Fields for power generation at the mine represents the strong working relationship between the companies, reinforced with the recent installation of one of the world’s largest renewable microgrids at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine in Western Australia.
First production from the mine is set for early 2023, with Salares Norte having an 11.5-year life of mine with a production average of 450,000 oz/y for the first seven years of operations.