Tag Archives: mine power

Aggreko completes construction, commissioning of solar farm for Northern Star Resources

Aggreko has completed construction and commissioning of a new 4.4 MW solar farm using 5B Maverick PV panels, as well as two Aggreko Y.Cube battery energy storage systems (totalling to 2 MW/1 MWh) to supply renewable power to Northern Star Resources’ Porphyry gold mine under a long-term power purchase agreement.

The Porphyry project is part of Northern Star Resources’ Carosue Dam Operations.

The existing 5 MW diesel power station – owned and operated by Aggreko – has been connected and integrated with the new solar farm and BESS to create Aggreko’s second thermal renewable hybrid power station in Western Australia.

“The new solar array was commissioned in February 2024 and is set to produce about 7.4 GWh of renewable energy each year – saving 1.67 million litres of diesel fuel and 4,486 t of CO2e emissions annually,” Aggreko Managing Director Asia Pacific, George Whyte, said.

“We worked closely with 5B to supply a relocatable solar plant, which seamlessly integrates renewables with conventional power sources. This ensures a reliable and sustainable energy supply, while optimising cost effectiveness.”

Aggreko’s ESG strategy is underpinned by two goals:

  • Net zero emissions from facilities and operations by 2035;
  • A 30% reduction in the emissions intensity of energy solutions by 2030; and
  • These environmental commitments sit alongside the company’s social and governance commitments: investing in its own skills and communities and being an ethical and transparent business.

Northern Star Resources’ Carosue Dam Operations General Manager, John Albrecht, said the solar PV power will help boost the operation’s financial and environmental footprint.

“The off-grid power solution implemented provides a reliable, and cost-effective solution that can be scaled up and down as needed throughout our mine’s operational life cycle,” he said.

Vale hits renewable power milestone ahead of 2025 deadline

Vale has announced that all the electricity used in its operations in Brazil in 2023 came from renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, wind and solar power plants. Thus, the company has achieved its goal of having 100% renewable electricity consumption in Brazil two years ahead of its original 2025 schedule.

The information is highlighted in the 2023 edition of the Vale Integrated Report.

Having reached the target, Vale has zeroed its indirect CO2 emissions in Brazil, which correspond to Scope 2 emissions. The company still has the challenge of achieving 100% renewable energy consumption in its global operations by 2030. At the moment, this indicator stands at 88.5%.

Vale Director of Energy and Decarbonization, Ludmila Nascimento, said: “We are announcing an important milestone in Vale’s decarbonisation strategy, which aims to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions (direct and indirect) by 33% by 2030 and to become net-zero by 2050. As we are progressing on our targets, we are helping to make Brazil’s energy matrix even cleaner, contributing to society’s fight against climate change.”

The start-up of the Sol do Cerrado solar complex in November 2022 was key to achieving the target two years ahead of schedule. Located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the solar complex represented an investment of $590 million by Vale. It is one of the largest solar energy parks in Latin America, with an installed capacity of 766 MW (peak), equivalent to the consumption of a city of 800,000 inhabitants. In July 2023, the complex reached its maximum capacity. It has the potential of contributing to around 16% of all the electricity consumed by Vale in Brazil.

The path towards 100% renewable consumption began to be traced by Vale back in the 1990s, when the company acquired its first hydroelectric plants. Today, Vale is supplied by a renewable energy portfolio of 2.6 GW of installed capacity, equivalent to the consumption of more than 3 million inhabitants. There are 14 assets held through direct and indirect participation in consortia and companies (ten hydroelectric plants, three wind farms and Sol do Cerrado). If it were a power generator, Vale would be the 15th largest in the country.

In its global operations, Vale is also moving towards 100% renewable energy consumption by 2030. The company invests in joint venture partnerships, renewable generation certificates in contracts and innovation initiatives for better efficiency in the use of batteries.

Vale is also working to reduce its direct Scope 1 emissions. In the mines and railroads, where diesel is currently intensively consumed, the company is studying the adoption of alternative fuels, such as ethanol for trucks and green ammonia for locomotives. In the pelletising furnaces, the strategy is to replace anthracite with zero-emission biocarbon, made from the carbonisation of biomass.

Last year, Vale signed an agreement with Wabtec for the supply of three electric locomotives and the start of studies into the development of a green ammonia-powered locomotive engine. The company also produced pellets with 100% biocarbon for the first time in an industrial test.

Trafo helps power up DRC copper-zinc mine expansion

Trafo Power Solutions says it is supplying three mini-substations and two transformers to a copper-zinc mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of an expansion at the operation.

David Claassen, Managing Director of Trafo Power Solutions, says the pressure was on from early in the planning stages to ensure this critical equipment would be available on time – to facilitate the continued mine expansion. From the date of the contract award, the company will deliver the units to the mine site within just four months – despite most of South African industry having taken an annual December break.

“We have conducted projects previously with the end client and the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, so have a good understanding of their requirements,” Claassen explains. “This experience – combined with our history in the DRC and in the mining sector – gave us the edge in expediting the whole process.”

The order was for two 2,000 kVA transformers to step down the electricity supply from 6.6 kV to 550 V, as well as three dry-type miniature substations. Two of the mini-substations are rated 315 kVA and 6.6 kV to 400 V, while the third is a 630 kVA unit which also steps down from 6.6 kV to 400 V.

“This equipment is an important part of the mine’s electrical infrastructure upgrade,” Claassen says. “Of particular interest were the dry-type mini-substations, which were quite unique in certain respects.”

As a specialist in dry-type transformer applications, Trafo Power Solutions designed the mini-substations in an IP54 configuration – ensuring that the units are completely sealed from dust and water. This level of insulation usually requires a forced air solution to ensure adequate air movement for cooling.

“For this application, the requirement was for natural air cooling – so the installation would not include external fans and related control instrumentation,” Claassen says. “This option enhances simplicity and further reduces any chance of ancillary equipment needing attention.”

The design of the enclosure and the transformer therefore took account of this configuration, allowing enough natural cooling despite the high ambient day time temperatures in the region. Another demanding aspect of the contract was that the two 2,000 kVA transformers are to replace units in the mine’s existing substation. This required innovative design to ensure that the new equipment fits into the available space.

“Our replacement units have a higher power rating than the ones they will replace, so the design was customised to ensure the mine does not have to re-engineer the space,” Claassen says. “This highlights our flexibility in designing solutions to optimise ease of installation.”

Delivery to site will take place after a factory acceptance test (FAT) has been conducted. While the functional commissioning of the units is not part of Trafo Power Solutions’ scope of supply on this contract, the company offers a standard commissioning and assistance service. This is part of its value-add to any of its contracts.

“The rapid pace of this project indicates a growing trend not only in mining but in other sectors, towards fast tracking new developments and expansions,” Claassen notes. “Clients are expecting their supply partners to deliver on shorter timelines, so one of our key strategies is to learn from each project and apply those lessons going forward.”

This keeps Trafo Power Solutions at the forefront of efficient project execution, focusing actively on quality and communication. This ensures first-time accuracy and customised designs, so that no time is lost by unnecessarily revisiting aspects of the project as it progresses.

“Our non-corporate approach means that we can take decisions and act quickly on matters commercial and technical,” Claassen says. “Our proven skill is in achieving these goals without compromising on quality.”

State of Play report highlights expected solar dominance in future mine power mix

The State of Play’s latest industry report has highlighted the increasing prevalence of solar use across the Australian mining landscape, with global mining leaders predicting that solar will be the main energy source in just 15 years as the sector shifts to renewables.

The report, The State of Play: Mining Strategy in a Changing World, received input from over 700 global mining leaders, from major mining groups such as Rio Tinto, BHP and South 32. It uncovered mining leaders predicting oil and diesel will only contribute around 20% of the future energy source for the industry, with 79% indicating solar will be the main energy source over the next 15 years.

The predicted shift comes as pressure mounts for the mining sector to do more in the space of renewables with the majority of mining leaders (91%) believing they are viewed negatively by society as a whole with respect to climate, the report states.

State of Play Chair, Graeme Stanway, says the energy transition, alongside a government push to capitalise on green critical minerals, provides a viable pathway for industry to take action and catalyse industry-wide transition.

“Our data shows that both the energy transition and environmental pressures are in the top three global trends that are expected to have the biggest impact on innovation and change in the mining over the next 15 years,” he said. “Society is expecting the mining industry to step up, and as a consequence we are seeing innovations in processing, new energy sources and technologies. Technology like long duration energy storage has come a long way in the last few years, as has the use of artificial intelligence.”

Companies such as Bellevue Gold (solar operation pictured above) are in the process of developing assets with over 80% renewable penetration, while others, such as Gold Fields, have trialled numerous electric vehicles.

Other insights from the report include:

  • 56% of all respondents stating geopolitical alliances will have the biggest impact on global supply chains in the mining industry;
  • 81% of respondents believe battery minerals will offer the most attractive investment returns over the next 15 years;
  • Nearly 70% of CEOs suggested their timeframe for innovation focus was less than three years; and
  • 67% of respondents stated they believed there would be a carbon-based price differential for their commodities in the next five years.

Pacific Energy helps Westgold Resources power Mid West region operations

Pacific Energy says it has successfully designed and delivered four industry-leading hybrid power systems for Westgold Resources Limited’s gold mining operations in Western Australia’s Mid West region.

The hybrid systems, which have a combined capacity of 82 MW, have been delivered under a seven-year build-own-operate agreement and comprise 28 MW of solar, 11.5 MW of battery energy storage (BESS) and 42.5 MW of high-efficiency gas generation.

The four systems, located at Westgold’s Tuckabianna, Bluebird, Fortnum and Big Bell facilities, were delivered concurrently and in parallel with Westgold’s operational expansion projects at all four sites. They replace six diesel-fired plants and are expected to collectively displace 38 million litres of diesel every year and cut carbon emissions by up to 57,000 t annually.

The Tuckabianna system, which was fully commissioned in August 2023, achieved an average of 31% solar penetration between November 2023 and January 2024, peaking at 36.9% in December.

Westgold’s Managing Director and CEO, Wayne Bramwell, said powering Westgold’s operations with renewables was at the heart of its Clean Energy Transition project, which is set to improve the company’s environmental efficiencies and reduce operating costs.

“Moving towards renewables works for Westgold as a business because it drives costs out,” Bramwell said. “It also works for the environment because it significantly reduces carbon emissions and it sends a signal about our long-term view of building a sustainable busines.”

Pacific Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Cullen, said: “This complex project showcases Pacific Energy’s commitment to delivering sustainable, cutting-edge solutions for our clients, even in the very challenging circumstances we encounter in remote locations.

“Pacific Energy and Westgold have worked side-by-side in the Mid West’s tough environment to deliver these systems safely, with zero lost time injuries. And by delivering the hybrid systems concurrently, we’ve been able to identify different response scenarios at each location and implement those learnings across the board to optimise system capabilities.”

Pacific Energy centred the design of the hybrid systems around its virtual generator (VG) BESS technology, which integrates renewable energy sources and dynamically stabilises the power systems, marking a shift away from thermal generation as the primary source of system stability.

An evolution of grid forming BESS technology, VG BESS can mimic the characteristics of rotating thermal generators, providing for the first time the ability to stabilise large-scale power systems without burning fuel or using legacy technologies like synchronous condensers, according to Pacific Energy.

The new hybrid systems also have emergency hydrocarbons-off functionality, which enables mining operations using solar and BESS during system outages and other critical situations, it added.

Cullen said: “We’re approaching our systems design with a future-focused mindset, so they can support the increasing sophistication of renewable energy technologies for years to come, and to ensure we’re delivering the decarbonisation outcomes our clients are looking for.”

Glencore’s Rhovan vanadium facility looks to ‘go green’ with solar PV facility

Rhovan, a Glencore Ferroalloys managed vanadium mining and processing facility located near Brits in the North West province of South Africa, has commenced construction of a 25 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant.

Once completed, the energy produced by the PV plant will be fed into Rhovan’s network and is expected to supply approximately 30% of the operations’ annual energy demand. This reduction in grid-supplied electricity is expected to save over 48,000 t/y in CO2e emissions at the plant, according to Glencore.

Japie Fullard, Glencore Ferroalloys CEO, said: “We are very excited to announce this development at our Rhovan mine. Not only does our mine produce a range of vanadium products that can be used in applications that support a low-carbon economy, but by installing a solar plant that will supply renewable electricity to our operation, we are reducing the mine’s overall emissions footprint.”

Glencore says the solar project was conceived in keeping with its purpose of responsibly sourcing the commodities that advance everyday life. It also supports Glencore’s broader climate strategy aimed at reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its industrial operations in line with its short- and medium-term targets.

Supporting the transition to a low-carbon future is not just about reducing emissions and leveraging more green technology, but also involving communities and supporting their economic development, the company said.

Fullard added: “Rhovan has already consulted with the Bakwena- Ba- Magopa Community in South Africa’s North West province where the operations are situated. The community will be further engaged, and local small and medium sized enterprises will be contracted to assist in the construction and installation of the solar plant.”

Work has already commenced on the project, with the commissioning planned for late 2024.

Pacific Energy to introduce LNG to Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora power plant

Pacific Energy is pleased to announce it will be converting its diesel power plant at Pilbara Minerals Limited’s Pilgangoora Operation, in Western Australia, to a combined natural gas-diesel power station, helping to deliver a lower-emissions future for Pilbara Minerals.

The announcement comes off the back of the recent Pilbara Minerals’ ASX announcement detailing the lithium miner’s medium-term power strategy, a three-stage plan slated to significantly reduce its power related emissions intensity.

The 15-year power station upgrade agreement is an amendment to Pacific Energy’s existing build-own-operate contract to supply power to the Pilgangoora Operation. The agreement supplements a separate 6 MW solar power agreement in place between the two companies. The upgrades will play an important role in Stage 1 of Pilbara Minerals’ medium-term power strategy, which aims to further displace diesel fuel use with a lower-emissions fuel.

Under the agreement, Pacific Energy will convert its current on-site power plant to a combined natural gas-diesel power station, expand overall power generation to support its client’s P1000 expansion project, and integrate a battery energy storage system, initially to improve system reliability and efficiency, and subsequently to support future solar integration.

Pacific Energy’s upgrades will comprise 12 new 2.5 MW high-efficiency gas generators and a 13 MW/8 MWh BESS at the main power station. A portion of the existing diesel generators will remain on-site to provide additional power security across both the Pilgan and Ngungaju power plants.

Pacific Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Cullen, said the project is further demonstration of the company delivering on its ambition to transition the world to a clean energy future.

“Decarbonising both our own and our clients’ operations is absolutely front of mind for Pacific Energy,” he said. “We know we play a critical role in helping our clients to reduce their emissions intensity by transitioning their power supplies to lower-emissions alternatives.

“We’re really pleased to be partnering with Pilbara Minerals on their journey towards net zero. Projects like this one lead to emissions intensity reductions, and they also enable the cleaner production of critical minerals like lithium, which are essential for our growing global renewable energy technology market. That’s something we’re really proud to support.”

Pacific Energy’s LNG conversion will help Pilbara Minerals substitute 90% of the diesel it currently uses for stationary power generation, replacing it with trucked LNG, a lower emissions-intensive fuel source, which is expected to reduce power related carbon emissions intensity by approximately 20%.

Pacific Energy expects project works to commence in early 2024, with the upgrades due for completion by mid-2025.

Wärtsilä extends relationship with Masbate gold project in Philippines

Technology group Wärtsilä has signed a five-year renewal of its Operation and Maintenance (O&M) agreement with Phil. Gold Processing & Refining Corp (PGPRC) for the Masbate gold project (MGP) power plant located on Masbate Island in the Philippines.

Wärtsilä has operated and maintained the power plant since 2009, and the renewal order was booked by Wärtsilä in June 2023.

Phil. Gold operates the processing plant in the MGP operations. Phil. Gold is fully owned by gold producer, B2Gold.

The Masbate mine is around 360 km southeast of the country’s capital, Manila, and has no connection to the grid. The power plant is, therefore, the sole source of electricity, and its operational reliability is essential to maintain the mine’s production schedules.

Ryan Rusk, President at PGPRC, said: “The plant’s availability, efficiency and reliability are critical to our operations. Wärtsilä has provided the professional support to ensure that we get the power we need for the past fourteen years, so it was natural that we continue this agreement.”

Kari Punnonen, Energy Business Director at Wärtsilä, added: “Wärtsilä has extensive experience in providing power to mining operations around the world. The locations can be challenging, often with high ambient temperatures and limited water supplies for cooling purposes. Our engine technology is designed to deal with these conditions, and our maintenance agreements are built around serving the specific needs of each individual customer. We have developed a strong relationship with PGPRC over the years, and we are delighted to continue this cooperation with this contract extension.”

The power plant, which has recently been expanded, has a maximum output of 47 MW. In the Philippines, Wärtsilä has altogether 1,600 MW, 104 MW is operated by Wärtsilä under O&M agreements.

Minetek launches dedicated division for integrated electrical, power solutions

Minetek has announced the inauguration of Minetek Power, a dedicated division committed to delivering integrated electrical and power solutions to the mining industry.

The establishment of the division is a response to market feedback that highlighted prolonged wait times for sub-par electrical solutions suffering from quality and longevity issues, often failing to meet site requirements and expectations, Minetek says.

“Recognising the pressing need for a reliable and efficient power supplier, Minetek Power fills this void by offering quick turnaround times, often months faster than industry-standard lead times,” the company said.

Focusing on high-quality products engineered by in-house design, engineering and manufacturing teams, Minetek Power aspires to provide a premium customer experience supported by a dedicated team that facilitates site installation and commissioning. it offers a complete and tailored end-to-end solution, the company says.

It also builds on Minetek’s track record in providing complex power solutions to industrial and mining operations as part of Minetek Air and Water projects.

Minetek Power’s product portfolio encompasses a wide range of power solutions, including:

  • Substations  – the ultimate electrical solution for controlling and managing critical power generation, transmission and distribution systems at mines;
  • Switchrooms – designed to house critical electrical infrastructure in industrial settings, providing air conditioning for optimum equipment life and operator comfort;
  • Fan starters – specifically designed for harsh underground mining and tunnelling environments, providing safe, reliable protection and control of ventilation operations;
  • Pump starters – enabling reliable and efficient pump operations in various industrial settings, including underground mining;
  • Electrical switchboards – safely receiving primary power supplies and feeding downstream applications, featuring a modular design and high ingress protection;
  • Distribution boards – configurable for various high and low-voltage infrastructure applications, available in standalone, skid, or frame-mounted options; and
  • Mining drill starters – motor control and electrical protection for heavy drilling equipment in challenging underground settings.

Rio Tinto to bolster Diavik renewable power inputs with new solar plant

Rio Tinto’s Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada will build the largest solar power plant across Canada’s territories, featuring over 6,600 solar panels that will generate approximately 4,200 MWh/y of carbon-free electricity for the mine.

The solar power plant will provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during closure work that will run until 2029, with commercial production from the operation expected to end in early 2026.

The facility will be equipped with bi-facial panels which will not only generate energy from direct sunlight, but also from the light that reflects off the snow that covers Diavik for most of the year. It will cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately one million liters per year and reduce emissions by 2,900 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is comparable to eliminating the emissions of 630 cars.

President and Chief Operating Officer of the Diavik Diamond Mine, Angela Bigg, said: “I am delighted that we will be significantly increasing our renewable power generation with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at the Diavik Diamond Mine. Through its wind-diesel hybrid power facility, Diavik is already a leader in cold climate renewable technology and this important project reinforces our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint. I would like to thank both the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada for their support to deploy this project.”

The solar power plant will significantly expand Diavik’s renewable energy generation, which already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility that has a capacity of 55.4 MW and provides the site’s electricity.

The project is supported by C$3.3 million ($2.5 million) in funding from the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program, and C$600,000 from the Government of Canada’s Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit.

Government of the Northwest Territories Finance Minister, Caroline Wawzonek, said: “The Diavik solar power plant is a welcome sign of Rio Tinto’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing emissions. The Government of the Northwest Territories is pleased to have provided support through the Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program, one of the original pieces of our made-in-the-NWT approach to the federal carbon tax. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to facilitating sustainable development while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Northwest Territories and should be a signal of how our economic development can continue to position us as leaders in these spaces.”

Diavik is working with the Government of the Northwest Territories and community partners to determine how its renewable energy infrastructure can best benefit the region following closure.

Rio Tinto is progressing decarbonisation initiatives across its global operations, with the aim of reducing its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and to achieve net zero across its operations by 2050.

Construction will start in coming weeks and the solar power plant will be fully operational in the first half of 2024.

The Diavik mine is Canada’s largest diamond producer and produces 3.5-4.5 Mct/y of rough diamonds. Since mining began in 2003, Diavik has produced over 100 Mct of diamonds. Commercial production is expected to end in the March quarter of 2026.