Tag Archives: renewable energy

GHD gets behind Green Gravity’s gravitational energy storage pursuit

Green Gravity and GHD have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the commercialisation of gravitational energy storage systems.

The MoU aims to pursue the development of new applications for the Green Gravity technology, accelerating the commercialisation of the gravitational energy storage systems technology solution using the expertise and connections of GHD, the companies say.

In a wide-ranging partnership, Green Gravity and GHD will collaborate on technical engineering, policy and regulatory matters and electricity grid connectivity practices and will work together to deliver world-class governance and processes in engineering design, they added.

The companies said: “By working in partnership, Green Gravity and GHD aim to provide a tangible example of how connectivity between the engineering services sector and the clean technology development sector can accelerate decarbonisation in the electricity system.”

Green Gravity’s energy storage system moves heavy weights vertically in legacy mine shafts to capture and release the gravitational potential energy of the weights. By using proven mechanical parts and disused mine shafts, Green Gravity’s energy storage technology is low-cost, long life and environmentally compelling, the company claims. The technology improves the economics of wind and solar power, leading to a faster and lower cost transition away from fossil fuels, it added.

Last month, the company signed a separate MoU with Yancoal to study the potential of the energy storage technology at the mining company’s former Austar coal mine in New South Wales.

According to Mark Swinnerton, Founder and CEO of Green Gravity, the partnership demonstrates the potential impact of integration and connectivity between providers of new energy solutions to support Australia’s clean energy transition.

“Green Gravity is excited to partner with one of the world’s leading engineering companies in the next stage of our technology commercialisation,” he said. “Our organisations have strongly aligned interests and, by coming together, we can make an important contribution to the rapidly escalating clean energy transition challenge.

“Green Gravity’s energy storage technology represents a breakthrough in the search for economic long-duration storage of renewable energy. By re-using mining assets, costs can be kept low. By using gravity as the fuel, we dispense with consuming the critical water, land, and chemicals which other storage technologies rely on.”

Daniel Todd, GHD’s Market Leader – Energy and Resources, added: “GHD is excited to collaborate with Green Gravity in the development of long-duration energy storage solutions, supporting Australia’s transition to a decarbonised energy system. GHD brings experience across all aspects of Green Gravity’s project development program and is aligned with Green Gravity’s focus on repurposing mining assets as part of the solution.”

First Quantum and AES sign renewable energy deal for Cobre Panama

First Quantum Minerals’ majority-owned Cobre Panama operation has signed a long-term contract with AES Panama for the supply of renewable energy, starting in January 2024.

The agreement establishes that the energy supplied by the electricity generation company to the copper mine will be certified renewable energy from solar, wind and hydroelectric sources.

The CEO of First Quantum Minerals, Tristan Pascall (right), and the President of AES Panama, Miguel Bolinaga, gathered to sign the contract (pictured).

“As a responsible mining company, we recognise our obligation to contribute to the management and mitigation of climate change and part of our contribution is through a transition to clean energy sources in our operations, including Cobre Panamá,” Pascall said.

“The global need to accelerate the transition to the use of cleaner energy will require an increase in the production of minerals and metals, such as copper, used in solar panels, wind farms and electric vehicles. This agreement for the energy transition of our operations is also a logical step to increase the sustainability of our production.”

Miguel Bolinaga, President of AES Panama (left), said: “One of the main goals of AES at a global and local level is to lead the energy transition, which is why for us offering cleaner energy solutions to our clients is a priority.”

The Operations Superintendent of the Panama Copper Power Plant, Boris Batista, said the agreement with AES would cover the plant’s need for more power, and that all this additional power – 64 kW – would come from renewable energy sources.

Other steps would follow in the process of reducing carbon emissions at Cobre Panama. By 2025, 30% of the energy used in Cobre Panama’s operations is expected to come from renewable sources. For its part, the First Quantum Minerals group plans to reduce its carbon emissions in its global operations by 50% by 2030.

Anglo American, EDF Renewables establish regional renewable energy ecosystem in South Africa

Anglo American has joined forces with EDF Renewables to establish a new jointly owned company, Envusa Energy, aimed at developing a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa.

In March 2022, the two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the ecosystem’s development, designed to meet Anglo American’s operational power requirements in South Africa and support the resilience of the local electricity supply systems and the wider
decarbonisation of energy in the country. The RREE is also expected to catalyse economic activity in South Africa’s renewable energy sector, supporting the country’s broader just energy transition.

As part of the agreement, Envusa Energy is launching a mature pipeline of more than 600 MW of wind and solar projects in South Africa – a major first step towards the development of an ecosystem that is expected to generate 3-5 GW of renewable energy by 2030, Anglo American says. This first phase of Envusa Energy’s renewables projects is expected to be fully funded – including by attracting debt financing that is typical for high quality energy infrastructure projects – and ready for construction to begin in 2023.

Envusa Energy is expected to supply Anglo American with a blend of renewable energy generated on Anglo American’s sites and renewable energy transmitted via the national grid. This energy portfolio approach will aggregate energy from geographically-dispersed renewable generating assets and allocate this energy optimally to meet the load demand for Anglo American’s sites, the company explained.

Nolitha Fakude, Chair of Anglo American’s Management Board in South Africa, said: “I’m delighted to confirm our ground-breaking partnership with EDF Renewables to form Envusa Energy. This is a significant milestone in Anglo American’s global decarbonisation journey and another step forwards for South Africa’s clean energy future. We are making great strides towards our 2040 target of carbon-neutral operations, while contributing to South Africa’s just energy transition through our responsible approach.

“We believe that the energy transition presents a fresh opportunity for South Africa and the rest of the region to build a clean and inclusive energy ecosystem that can create significant new economic opportunities. I am very encouraged by our progress – affirming Anglo American’s commitment to South Africa’s next phase of development towards a low-carbon future.”

Tristan de Drouas, CEO at EDF Renewables in South Africa, said: “We are very pleased to be part of this very innovative venture and look forward to bringing our global expertise in renewable energy infrastructure development, design and delivery to Envusa Energy. This partnership with Anglo American confirms our long-term perspectives in the country: this 600 MW first tranche of projects will be added to the almost 1 GW that EDF Renewables will be building or operating in the country by 2023 – including 420 MW of wind projects in REIPPP Bid Window 5, whose PPAs were signed with Eskom and the DMRE on September 22, 2022.

“Together, these projects further EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double our net renewable installed energy capacity worldwide (hydropower included) from 28 GW in 2015 to 60 GW by 2030.”

The roll-out of the RREE will also serve as a clean energy source for the production of green hydrogen for Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS) – a planned fleet of hydrogen-powered ultra-class mine haul trucks (the original prototype pictured at Mogalakwena above) – significantly reducing on-site diesel emissions towards a carbon neutral future while also supporting the development of South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley, Anglo American said.

Through the formation of Envusa Energy, Anglo American and EDF Renewables are committed to supporting South Africa’s economic transformation and empowerment goals. The process to identify an appropriate Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partner for Envusa Energy is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Furthermore, and in line with both companies’ commitment to a just energy transition, Envusa Energy is exploring a range of community partnership models that will enable host communities to share in the benefits created by the development of the RREE, along its value chain, Anglo American said.

Bellevue Gold on its way to achieving ‘holy grail’ with EDL pact

Bellevue Gold Limited says it has taken a pivotal step towards its aspirational goal of becoming Australia’s first ASX-listed gold miner with net-zero emissions by signing an Early Works Agreement with Energy Developments Pty Ltd and locking in long-lead items for its power station, ready for the processing plant commissioning in mid-2023.

The purchasing of the long lead items will see the company continue its carbon mitigation strategy, based off proven technologies with a Tier 1 power supplier, it said.

This agreement is a key step in Bellevue’s strategy to be powered by a forecast average of 80% renewable energy each year using a wind, solar and battery hybrid power solution.

EDL built, owns and operates a similar turnkey power solution at the Agnew gold mine, around 35 km south of the Bellevue gold project.

Bellevue and EDL are currently negotiating a Power Purchase Agreement for the project, which is subject to approval by the boards of both EDL and Bellevue.

Bellevue says its power solution is central to the company’s goal of generating the lowest carbon emissions per ounce of gold produced by any major Australian gold mine, with forecast emissions of between 0.15-0.20 t of CO2e/oz.

“As well as being the lowest emitter on a per ounce basis, the project is forecast to have the lowest total Scope 1 emissions of any major mine in Australia,” it said. “This will give the project the cleanest power supply in Australia based on a greenhouse gas per kilowatt hour basis of power generation.”

By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with a renewable energy power station and undertaking other sustainable initiatives, Bellevue aims to produce carbon-neutral gold, giving the company a major competitive advantage in global investment markets, it says. This also provides potential for the company to seek a premium for the sale of ‘green gold’, it added.

The power station will prioritise the use of renewable energy and will also include a gas engine configuration, which, it says, will ensure there is sufficient power for the mine, even in the rare absence of solar and wind resources.

EDL will supply trucked LNG to the project to maintain optionality for any future technological innovations in thermal generation alternative fuels. Trucked LNG provides a much cleaner fuel than diesel, which was an important consideration to reduce emissions as far as possible, it said.

At a steady-state production rate of 1 Mt/y, renewable energy is expected to meet up to 80% of the project’s annual electricity needs, taking advantage of the region’s strong solar and wind resources.

Bellevue says it has been modelling the wind speeds and direction with a SODAR unit, which has allowed for the integration of wind turbines to increase the renewable energy penetration rate.

Maximising renewable energy uptake has been a key design consideration for the processing facility. The facility will have the ability to use more power – such as crushing and heating – when increased renewable energy is available, reducing thermal requirements, according to the company.

The planned infrastructure includes an oversized crushing circuit to facilitate a processing rate of more than 1.5 Mt/y (against current throughput rate of 1 Mt/y), allowing the operational flexibility in this area for an optimised match up of the renewable energy demand to the renewable energy resource.

The designed infrastructure will allow Bellevue to have a cost-effective renewable energy supply and optimise the power demand curve to better align with key daytime (solar) and night time (wind) energy peaks and troughs. Through the generation of power from renewable energy sources, it will create the optionality for the crushing circuit to maximise crushing in peak renewable energy generation periods. This will have the potential to offset more than 1 MW in demand on thermal power generation and lead to a direct cost saving and emissions reduction.

Bellevue Managing Director, Steve Parsons, said: “EDL is a leader in hybrid off-grid power stations. Their skills and experience will help ensure we maximise the use of renewable energy at the Bellevue gold project.

“Bellevue is forecasted to be a 200,000 oz a year gold miner with low all-in sustaining costs of A$1,000-A$1,100/oz ($644-$708/oz) powered by circa-80% renewable energy, with a pathway to net-zero emissions as a world-leading company in the race to decarbonise the mining sector.

“Our pre-production carbon mitigation strategy has been strategic and is world leading. It achieves the ‘holy grail’ of lower emissions and a direct cost reduction in power generation.

“The combination of these metrics is expected to will position Bellevue as one of the most sustainable and financially successful Australian gold miners, maximising returns for all stakeholders. It will also underpin the company’s strong appeal to global investors, who demand performance on both financial and ESG measures.”

On the same day as the EDL announcement, the company signed a Native Title Agreement with Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) RNTBC, being the native title rights and interests holders and traditional owners of the land which hosts the Bellevue gold project.

BHP ties up 100% of Nickel West power requirements with renewables

BHP says it has secured enough renewable energy to cover 100% of the power requirements of three of its major nickel operations in Western Australia, following the signing of a new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Enel Green Power.

The PPA between BHP and Enel Green Power will underpin construction of stage 1 of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm near the Great Southern town of Kojonup, it said.

Stage 1 is expected to create 120 jobs during construction and up to 10 locally-based roles once operational. Construction is due to begin in July 2022, and first power is expected in October 2023.

The new wind farm will comprise the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia at a tip height of 200 m and is expected to produce 315 GWh/y.

Under the renewable PPA with Enel Green Power, the Flat Rocks Wind Farm will generate the equivalent of 100% of the current power requirements for Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Kambalda Nickel Concentrator from 2024.

The combined output of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, through the PPA, and the recently announced Merredin Solar Farm PPA, is enough to cover the current power requirements of all three of Nickel West’s downstream facilities – the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the Kwinana Nickel Refinery, which are connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Renewable energy from the Flat Rocks Wind Farm is expected to reduce Nickel West’s market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by just under one third against BHP’s financial year 2020 baseline levels from 2024 based on current forecast demand.

The combined effect from BHP’s agreements for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, the Merredin Solar Farm and the Northern Goldfields Solar Project is expected to reduce Nickel West’s total market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60% against the 2020 financial year baseline levels from 2024, based on current forecast demand.

The Italian-owned Enel Green Power and Moonies Hill Energy, owned by local landowners, have been working on the co-development of Flat Rocks Wind Farm since 2016. The windfarm covers the Shire of Kojonup and Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup.

The area around Kojonup, which is one of Western Australia’s oldest towns and has a rich local history and large Italian population, is an ideal location due to its strong winds and being situated on the southern part of the SWIS, BHP said.

The Flat Rocks Wind Farm will have a capacity factor of nearly 50%, which is one of the highest in the country, complementing BHP’s use of solar from the Merredin Solar Farm, well positioning Nickel West for a reliable supply of renewable energy over a 24-hour period, it added.

Zenith Energy to roll out 5B Maverick solar system across Australian mine sites

Renewable energy penetration is set to increase on major mine sites in the Goldfields and Pilbara regions of Australia, after Zenith Energy and 5B signed a deployment agreement that could see the 5B Maverick™ system rolled out.

Zenith, one of Australia’s leading independent power producers, and 5B, a clean energy technology provider, signed an Ecosystem Framework Agreement-Deployment, permitting Zenith to be a deployment partner of the 5B Maverick system within Australia.

The 5B Maverick system solar array is prefabricated, allowing rapid deployment while increasing the ability of Zenith to expand renewable assets across existing and future sites, Zenith said. Each 5B Maverick array consists of up to 90 solar panels, mounted on specially designed racks, and optimised for the 540-550 W module class of the utility scale solar industry.

Zenith Managing Director, Hamish Moffat, said the partnership represents the next step in reducing emissions across Zenith’s legacy portfolio.

“We’ve been looking to increase renewable assets across multiple sites for some time; the question has always been around how we can achieve that in such a way that is economically viable,” he said. “The 5B Maverick system is re-deployable, meaning it can be integrated on mines with shorter tenure, and moved at the end of operations at those sites.”

He added: “It offers Zenith greater ability to leverage value from our initial capital expenditure, making it more cost effective to offer expanded renewable energy solutions for our clients.”

5B Co-Founder and CEO, Chris McGrath, said the strategic partnership is an important validation of 5B Maverick’s ability to reduce deployment complexity.

“This has been a major barrier for solar installations on mine sites worldwide,” he said. “The agreement also shows that our cost reduction efforts over the past two years have worked – we’ve hit the price point where 5B Mavericks can be viably packed up and redeployed elsewhere, substantially reducing the risk of stranded assets in mining, agricultural and industrial operations.”

Moffat said Zenith is looking to integrate the 5B Maverick system across three sites initially. These include:

  • Nova: The 5B Maverick will play a major role in Zenith’s industry first ‘engine-off’ project at IGO’s Nova nickel mine, allowing the site to operate on up to nine consecutive hours of renewable energy through the installation of an extra 10 MW of solar, and a 10 MW battery energy storage system;
  • Warrawoona: Zenith recently committed to the supply, installation, and commissioning of a 4 MW DC Solar Farm, using the 5B Maverick, as well as a 3 MW/3 MWh AC battery energy storage system at Warrawoona, owned by Calidus Resources. The hybrid power station configuration will reduce gas use, which in turn results in a reduction in emissions; and
  • King of The Hills: Work is currently underway to install 2 MW of 5B Maverick on the Red 5 site, also supported by a battery energy storage system.

Moffat said the 5B agreement is another key milestone on the company’s journey toward ‘net zero’.

“Our 2035 ‘net zero’ target strikes a balance between ambition and ability to achieve, with the 5B partnership a clear demonstration of our progress and commitment to this goal,” he said.

McGrath said 5B was keen to partner with Zenith, given the independent power producer’s strong reputation and credibility in providing renewable energy solutions to the mining and resources industry.

“We’re keen to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded companies, and Zenith definitely fits the bill,” he said. “It is great to see Zenith leveraging the ability of the 5B Maverick solar arrays to deploy up to 10 times faster, more safely than single axis tracker and fixed tilt solar systems, to deliver a full solution for their customers.”

Moffat said the partnership offers both Zenith and 5B the opportunity to continue to lead the industry, demonstrating the ability and capacity to effectively integrate renewable energy solutions.

“We have continually said we want to be part of the renewable solution, not just by developing the concepts needed, but by also actively deploying and proving the technology,” he said. “The partnership with 5B allows us to do this and continue to bring our clients on the glide path to ‘net zero’.”

APA Group to deliver solar power to MMG’s Dugald River mine

Stage one of APA Group’s plan to build an 88 MW solar farm in Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia, has got underway with a Final Investment Decision to construct 44 MW of capacity to serve MMG’s Dugald River zinc-lead mine in the state.

The investment of more than A$80 million ($60 million) will see APA Group provide solar power to the mine as part of a 15-year offtake agreement.

APA also entered into a 32-year lease agreement with the Queensland Government to locate the solar farm on a site near APA’s Diamantina Power Station Complex. The first stage of the solar farm is expected to be operational by the March quarter of 2023, while APA says it is in advanced discussions with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two, reaching 88 MW.

APA CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said the Mica Creek Solar Farm will deliver lower emissions power underpinned by the reliability of APA’s gas-fired power, while reducing the average cost and emissions of power across Mount Isa.

MMG, meanwhile, said the solar agreement will supply Dugald River with renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint and provide immediate energy cost savings once operational in early 2023.

“The new agreement further supports MMG’s commitment to supporting the global transition to a low carbon economy with the company’s key products, copper and zinc, playing a critical role in the development of sustainable technologies such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and batteries,” it added.

BHP closes in on renewable energy supply for Olympic Dam mine

BHP says it expects to shortly enter into renewable energy supply arrangements to enable the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia to reduce its emission position to zero for 50% of its electricity consumption by 2025, based on current forecast demand.

The arrangements will be supplied by Iberdrola, including from the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in South Australia, which is expected to be Australia’s largest solar-wind hybrid plant once in operation in July 2022.

BHP is to become the primary customer of this new renewable facility, with the renewable energy supply arrangements referred to including a retail agreement with Origin Energy, who will facilitate the arrangements.

This announcement follows BHP’s entry into renewable energy agreements for BHP’s operations in Western Australia in 2021, Queensland in 2020 and in Chile in 2019.

BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie, said: “These arrangements will support an exciting new renewable energy project which will contribute to South Australia’s renewable energy ambitions.

“Olympic Dam’s copper has an important role to play to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition as an essential product in electric vehicles and renewable infrastructure. Reducing emissions from our operations will further enhance our position as a sustainable copper producer.”

Iberdrola Australia Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ross Rolfe, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with BHP, helping them meet their decarbonisation and sustainability objectives. We worked very closely with BHP to design these bespoke renewable energy supply arrangements. Olympic Dam is to be the primary customer for the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, a demonstration of their commitment to local procurement and sustainable economic development.”

The arrangements, intended to commence on July 1, 2022, are one of the actions BHP is taking to contribute to its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2) from its operated assets by at least 30% from financial year 2020 levels by financial year 2030.

Orica addresses Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in latest GHG reduction pledge

Orica has announced its ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, covering Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its most “material” Scope 3 GHG emission sources.

The ambition builds on Orica’s previously announced medium-term target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

To advance its net zero emissions ambition, Orica says it will:

  • Continue to reduce its operational footprint: prioritising Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions reductions by deploying tertiary catalyst abatement technology, sourcing renewable energy and optimising energy efficiency and industrial processes;
  • Collaborate with its suppliers: as new and emerging technologies scale and become commercial, partner with suppliers to source lower emissions intensity ammonium nitrate (AN) and ammonia to reduce Orica’s Scope 3 emissions, which account for approximately 70% of Orica’s total Scope 3 emissions;
  • Prioritise lower carbon solutions: developing lower carbon AN, as well as new products, services and technology offerings to help customers achieve their own sustainability goals; and
  • Report progress: transparently disclose performance consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “Our ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 shows our commitment to playing a part in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is a strong signal that the decarbonisation of Orica will, and must, continue beyond 2030 and requires a collaborative approach across all of our stakeholders.

“We’re making solid progress having already achieved a 9% emissions reduction in financial year 2020 (to June 30, 2020) and further reductions this financial year. We’ve taken our 2030 medium-term target and extended our planning over the long term, developing a credible roadmap to support our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Over the next decade, Orica is deploying tertiary catalyst abatement, prioritising renewable energy opportunities and supporting a trial of carbon capture utilisation and storage technology. Beyond 2030, how we achieve our ambition is dependent on effective global policy frameworks, supportive regulation and financial incentives, and access to new and emerging technologies operating at commercial scale.

“Orica is a company with a long history of technical innovation which is already helping our customers improve mine site safety, productivity and efficiency. We will apply the same approach by deploying low-emissions technologies to our major manufacturing sites and working with our global suppliers and stakeholders on reducing the footprint of our supply chain.”

Orica says it has already undertaken several initiatives to drive action towards its medium-term target and support its 2050 net zero emissions ambition.

In FY2020, Orica’s Bontang AN manufacturing facility in Indonesia recorded a 43% reduction in net emissions and its Kooragang Island nitrates manufacturing plant (pictured below) in Australia achieved a 6.3% reduction in net emissions, by replacing and improving the performance of selective catalyst abatement technologies, the company said.

In partnership with the Alberta Government this year, Orica’s Carseland AN manufacturing facility in Canada has commissioned tertiary catalyst abatement technology, reducing emissions by approximately 83,000 t/y of CO2e.

Orica has assigned approximately A$45 million ($33 million) over the next five years in capital to deploy similar tertiary abatement technology across its Australian AN sites, which, it says, could deliver an annual reduction of 750,000 t CO2e.

Orica will also support the construction of a mobile demonstration plant of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology at its Kooragang Island manufacturing facility, led by Mineral Carbonation International, in partnership with the Australian Government and the University of Newcastle. The plant is scheduled to be built on Orica’s Kooragang Island site by the end of 2023 and have direct access to some 250,000 t of captured CO2 from Orica’s manufacturing operations.

Australian Potash enlists help of PWR Hybrid for Lake Wells renewable microgrid

Australian Potash Ltd says PWR Hybrid has been awarded “Preferred Proponent status” to build, own and operate a circa-35 MW hybrid renewable microgrid at its Lake Wells sulphate of potash project (LSOP) in Western Australia.

The power purchase agreement will be finalised through the early contractor involvement process the companies will now progress, with an improved indicative levelised cost of energy to the recently published front end engineering design study, Australian Potash said.

PWR Hybrid brings over 28 years of experience in developing power solutions to remote sites across the globe, including more than 350 MW of solar installations, according to the company.

The company also commissioned an assessment of the LSOP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint as part of its preparation for compliance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) regime, effective in Europe from March 10, 2021. This assessment, taking into consideration the power balance across the project and energy usage through to ports of loading in Western Australia, concluded that the LSOP will produce a CO2-e GHG that is materially lower than either a comparable Mannheim operation (LSOP<Mannheim by 69%) or solar-salt/brine operation (LSOP<other by 49%), the company said.

Australian Potash Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said: “Strategically, we shifted the focus of the LSOP development and operations to a sustainable energy footing to capture and leverage the already low GHG footprint of a solar-salt project. With the benefit of time, and rigorous and methodical planning, several alternative configurations for the LSOP microgrid were presented and assessed.

“With our vision on the operational future of the LSOP, and therefore our end users, we consider it vital to address sustainable production of SOP as a critical path item. To that end, we have commissioned a formal, rigorous ESG audit of the LSOP which will further provide our distribution partners, end users and investors with third party validation of the project’s ESG qualities.”

The LSOP microgrid will be developed in a staged approach, with the thermal component to be completed within around 15 months of the company making a final investment decision. This timeline ensures power supply preparedness for steady-state operations.

PWR Hybrid’s Director, Ryan Green, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be awarded preferred bidder status by Australian Potash. This is further recognition of PWR Hybrid’s capabilities in the hybrid power station market.

“Having recently delivered a 12 MW gas-fired power station in Western Australia, and commenced work on the hybridisation of that project, the company is well-positioned to partner with Australian Potash to provide an industry-leading hybrid power station at the LSOP.”

Key outcomes from the 2019 definitive feasibility study on Lake Wells include:

  • 30-year mine life producing 150,000 t/y of premium grade SOP utilising approximately 21% of the total measured resource estimate;
  • Long mine life underpinned by 3.6 Mt reserve and 18.1 Mt measured resource estimate;
  • Development capex of A$208 million ($153 million) with capital intensity of A$1,387/t; and
  • First quartile industry operating costs of $262/t providing high cash operating margins.

Photo credit: juwi