Tag Archives: renewable power

BHP partners with Neoen on Olympic Dam renewable power pact

BHP says it has signed a renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Neoen, which is expected to meet half of Olympic Dam’s electricity needs from its 2026 financial year.

The agreement, which is based on current forecast demand, will allow Olympic Dam to record a net zero emission position for the contracted volume of supply, according to BHP.

The PPA is expected to supply 70 MW of electricity to Olympic Dam and will support Neoen to construct the 203 MW Goyder South Stage 1b Wind Farm, assuming all relevant consents are obtained, BHP said. This wind farm is to form part of the larger Goyder Renewables Zone in South Australia, and will introduce new renewable generation into the South Australian electricity grid.

In addition, Neoen will construct a large-scale battery energy storage system in Blyth, South Australia, to support the PPA, which will also assist in improving the stability of the South Australian electricity grid.

Goyder South Stage 1, consisting of Goyder South 1a and 1b, is the first stage of Neoen’s flagship project known as Goyder Renewables Zone – a hybrid wind, solar and storage project located in mid-north South Australia. Goyder South has development approval for a total of 1,200 MW of wind generation, 600 MW of solar generation and 900 MW of battery storage capacity – making it South Australia’s largest renewable project.

BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie, said: “The world needs South Australia’s high-quality copper to build renewable technologies and infrastructure, and BHP is focused on producing that copper more sustainably.”

“This agreement will support BHP on its decarbonisation journey, and provide new firmed renewable energy and increased stability to the South Australian grid.”

This latest agreement follows commitments BHP has made in recent years, which have seen renewable electricity contribute to powering BHP facilities in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and Chile.

This PPA continues the actions BHP is taking to contribute to its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions (Scopes 1 and 2 from its operated assets) by at least 30% from adjusted 2020 financial year levels by its 2030 financial year.

BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “BHP is consciously working towards our target of at least a 30% reduction in our operational emissions by FY2030. Renewable energy partnerships, such as this agreement with Neoen, are important steps towards that outcome, and our longer-term 2050 net zero goal.”

Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to provide BHP with this highly innovative solution. We are convinced that our ability to combine our assets and our energy management capabilities to create bespoke commercial offers will be a key element of success for our future developments.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, added: “We thank BHP for their vote of confidence. Thanks to its storage assets and deep expertise, Neoen is now able to offer 24/7 energy to its customers. This first baseload PPA is a significant step forward for Neoen and will serve as a template for future contracts, opening up new market opportunities in Australia and in the rest of the world.”

Neoen, BHP says, is one of the world’s leading independent producers of exclusively renewable energy, having close to 5.6 GW of solar, wind and storage capacity in operation or under construction across numerous countries.

Centamin’s Sukari solar power plant performing ahead of expectations

Centamin says the solar plant at its Sukari gold mine, in Egypt, has entered the final stages of commissioning and is delivering savings ahead of expectations.

Furthermore, it says continued progress has been made to assess the opportunity to use Egyptian grid power at Sukari.

The solar plant, which is made up of a 36 MW solar farm and 7.5 MW batteryenergy storage system, has been consistently delivering 36 MW DC, converting to 30 MW AC of power, since early September, the company said. This reduction in exposure to volatile fuel pricing with commissioning is saving the company up to 70,000 litres per day of diesel and averaging a reduction in diesel consumption of 22 million litres per year, according to Centamin.

Based on current diesel prices, this means the plant has the potential to provide annual cost savings of $20 million, alongside an expected reduction in Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 60,000 t/y CO2 equivalent and a subsequent reduction in volume of diesel trucked to site.

Full commissioning of the solar plant is expected this quarter, the company added.

Centamin previously awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the 36 MW solar farm and 7.5 MW batteryenergy storage system at Sukari to juwi AG and Giza Systems. juwi was contracted to design, supply and integrate the Sukari solar and battery plant into the current diesel power plant, while Giza Systems was contracted to install the Sukari solar plant. To maximise the total energy generation, the project is using bifacial solar photovoltaic modules and single axis tracking. juwi Hybrid IQ microgrid technology will enable the integration of the solar and battery system into the existing offgrid network and support the operation of the existing power station, according to the company.

On top of the solar plant news, Centamin revealed it is actively engaged with government and independent power providers to further reduce its reliance on diesel at Sukari. Its initial proposals to supply 3050 MW AC of grid power to Sukari have been received and an internal evaluation is underway for potential integration from 2024, it said.

Fifty megawatts of AC grid power supply creates the potential to fully displace the use of diesel for power generation at Sukari, Centamin said. The minimum 30 MW AC of grid power, combined with the existing 30 MW AC of solar power, creates the potential to operate during daylight hours without using any diesel power generation and substantially offsetting diesel consumption during night time hours, it said.

The Egyptian grid power is generated from natural gas and a mix of renewables, such as hydro, solar and wind, creating the opportunity to further reduce Sukari’s GHG emissions. Further, the Egyptian industrial grid tariffs are significantly cheaper than the cost of power
generation using diesel fuel, Centamin said.

Martin Horgan, CEO of Centamin, said: “Delivery of this critical project is instrumental to our ongoing commitment to reduce our reliance on diesel fuel, minimise greenhouse gas emissions and realising material cost savings. The solar plant and potential to integrate grid power will contribute materially to our environmental stewardship philosophy and our strategic objective of maximising returns for all stakeholders.

OZ Minerals’ West Musgrave copper-nickel plan receives board approval

The OZ Minerals Board has greenlit the build of the West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia, paving the way for the development of a remote asset using dry grinding technology, autonomous haulage and a significant volume of renewable power.

West Musgrave is set to become OZ Minerals’ fourth operating asset when it starts producing concentrate in the second half of 2025, in the process becoming the company’s cleanest and greenest mine with plans to reach net zero Scope 1 emissions by 2038.

The feasibility study the board signed off on details a 13.5 Mt/y operation with average production of circa-28,000 t/y of nickel and circa-35,000 t/y of copper over a 24-year operating life. Coming with a A$1.7 billion ($1.1 billion) direct initial capital expenditure bill, West Musgrave could provide cash flow generation of circa-A$1.9 billion during the first five years of production based on OZ Minerals’ projections.

One of the interesting additions to the process flowsheet – which has been mentioned in previous economic studies – is the use of LOESCHE’s Vertical Roller Mill (VRM) technology.

Two VRMs will operate in parallel after the primary and secondary crushing circuit at West Musgrave, with OZ Minerals noting benefits in reducing power consumption by around 20%, supporting higher flotation recovery and the operational flexibility to be ramped up and down. The latter is particularly important given OZ Minerals plans to make West Musgrave one of the largest fully off-grid, hybrid renewable powered mines in the world with an initial circa-80% renewable penetration rate, powered off wind and solar energy with a battery energy storage system in tow.

Dr Thomas Loesche, Managing Shareholder and owner of LOESCHE, said: “As a mining engineer with a degree in mineral processing, it has always been a vision of mine to develop dry-comminution technologies that enable better sorting efficiencies, reduced power and consumables. We are very pleased to be involved in such an important project. OZ Minerals is breaking new ground and proving that sustainability does not stand in the way of project development, but rather makes such projects possible.”

The application of the VRM technology has been peer reviewed for the project by independent experts and has been de-risked through pilot test work campaigns, OZ Minerals added.

Further upstream of the VRMs, OZ Minerals has stated plans to operate the mining fleet remotely from day one at West Musgrave, with the acquisition of an autonomous haulage system-enabled fleet on a leasing basis in the feasibility study outline.

OZ Minerals did not include details of the size of truck involved in the latest study, but the prefeasibility study originally released in 2020 highlighted the use of up to 25 220-t payload haul trucks.

There is also potential for these haul trucks to be electric in the future, with OZ Minerals saying its pathway is aligned with the potential transition to an electric haulage fleet at the first engine change out.

While OZ Minerals says it has the capacity to fully fund West Musgrave with a new A$1.2 billion syndicated facility supported by key relationship banks awaiting final binding agreements, it said potential strategic partnership in the project via a minority interest was being explored.

The next steps for the project involves award of contracts with major partners – it has already signed up GR Engineering to build the process plant; increasing the capacity of its camp to around 250 beds by early 2023; mobilisation of equipment to commence earthworks; finalise the power purchasing agreement and Living Hub – the latter of which has 350 permanent ensuite rooms; and increasing its owner team resources in line with the plan, including operational-readiness personnel.

Glencore’s Mount Isa ops set for renewable power injection from APA Group

APA Group has reached a Final Investment Decision (FID) to build stage two of the Mica Creek Solar Farm in Mount Isa, Queensland, a decision that has brought with it an agreement to supply Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines copper-lead-zinc-silver operations in the state with renewable electricity.

The stage two investment is underpinned by a variation to the existing offtake agreement with APA customer Mount Isa Mines Limited (MIM), a Glencore company, according to APA. The variation adds a new service for the supply of electricity from the Mica Creek Solar Farm for 15 years, requiring additional capital expenditure by APA of around A$70 million ($49.8 million).

FID on stage two, which comprises 44 MW of additional solar power generation, follows APA’s announcement on November 1 that APA had reached FID on stage one of the Mica Creek Solar Farm and entered into an offtake agreement with MMG’s Dugald River operation to supply an initial 44 MW of renewable electricity to the miner. APA’s total investment for both stages of the works is estimated to be around A$150 million.

The second stage of the solar farm is to be co-located on the same site as stage one, near APA’s Diamantina Power Station Complex, on land which is leased from the Queensland Government. The solar farm is expected to be operational by mid-2023.

APA’s solar offtake agreement has been negotiated at a commercially competitive tariff, consistent with utility solar pricing, and will reduce the average delivered cost of power for MIM, APA said.

“This A$150 million investment will support APA’s vision for a world-leading hybrid energy grid in Mount Isa and our aspiration to support the further increases of renewable energy penetration for the region,” APA CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said.

“The support for the 88 MW Mica Creek Solar Farm demonstrates the enthusiasm of customers in the Mount Isa region for integrated energy solutions that can both meet their energy needs and help reduce their operational emissions.

“With continued strong interest from customers, APA is investigating a potential expansion for a third stage.”

Australian Potash adds renewable power to the Lake Wells SOP mix

Australian Potash says it has finalised the front-end engineering design (FEED) study for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Australia’s first high penetration renewable power solution on a greenfield sulphate of potash (SOP) minerals project development.

The study outlined a base case renewable power penetration rate of 53% with potential to rise to 87%, the company said. This would result in a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 21,700 t/y compared with the hydro-carbon power solution base case outlined in the 2019 definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its Lake Wells SOP project, in Western Australia.

According to the company, the Mannheim (industrial) SOP production route produces 300% more carbon emissions than the route outlined for the Lake Wells SOP project on an equivalent tonne’s basis, positioning the asset as the lowest CO2 emitting potash project development in Australia.

Australian Potash Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said: “Solar-SOP projects naturally sit at the lower end of the CO2 emissions curve by virtue of the natural evaporative process involved, and we challenged our project team to model a renewable power solution to maximise the…[project]’s long-term environmental sustainability.

“We are running competitive tendering processes for the eight packages of work defined to develop the LSOP, and bids have been received for the Power Station EPC package. This package was scoped to include renewable power generation, battery storage and an LNG backup reserve.

“Very pleasingly, these bids exceeded our design criteria both in terms of the rate of penetration of renewable power, and the impact that the renewable power solution has on reducing the LSOP’s carbon emissions. These are benefits that accrue to both our shareholders and the broader stakeholder and investment base.

“Solar-SOP production competes on a cost basis with the industrial Mannheim process, sitting at the lowest end of the global cost of production curve. The Lake Wells SOP project will produce SOP into that lowest quartile, and will also be one of the lowest carbon footprint potash projects globally.

“The company is pursuing organic certification for the suite of products to be produced at the Lake Wells SOP project, which will truly make the K-Brite™ branded SOP long-term environmentally sustainable.”

Key outcomes from the 2019 DFS 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 ($146 million) with capital intensity of A$1,387/t; and
  • First quartile industry operating costs of $262/t providing high cash operating margins.

The current program of works for the Lake Wells SOP project would see construction commence in the March quarter of 2021.

Centamin sets up Sukari for a solar power-fuelled future

Among new projects featured in Centamin’s just-released 2019 sustainability report is the development of a solar power installation that could pump 30 MW AC of renewable energy into the mix at its Sukari gold operation in Egypt.

The Stage 1 30 MW solar plant is expected to replace 18–20 million litres of diesel consumption per year through operation during daylight hours, according to Ross Jerrard, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director.

The bulk of Centamin’s greenhouse gas emissions result from the on-site power generation at Sukari, the company said in the report, with the site powered entirely by heavy fuel oil burning generators consuming over 90–100 million litres of diesel to meet the mine’s electricity needs. MAK and Wartsilla diesel-fired generators, with a combined power of 68 MW, are on site, according to the company.

In 2019, Centamin completed a preliminary study assessing the technical viability of integrating a solar plant at the Sukari mine. The results of the study demonstrated the potential of the project to materially reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and thereby reducing the company’s environmental footprint and operating expenditure, it said.

The study indicated a minimum of 36 MW DC/30 MW AC peak power hybrid solar plant would be the optimal capacity for an initial staged integration to the processing plant. A limited amount of battery storage (7.5 MW) is required to manage start up and shut down surges for integration into the existing site distribution and control systems, with the solar farm scoped over an 85 ha site on the Sukari tenement.

The project will be developed in two phases:

  • Phase one will require the upgrade of Sukari’s high voltage distribution system to prepare the system for connection of large scale solar; and
  • Phase two will be the construction, installation and connection of the solar photo voltaic plant to the Sukari electrical distribution system.

Centamin estimates up to 25% of Sukari’s power needs could be met through solar generation, with the initial 30 MW plant planned to be engineered with the ability to expand the power capacity in the future, if appropriate.

The construction spend for 30 MW is expected to be $37 million, with initial capital of $6 million committed at the end of 2019 to upgrade the high voltage reticulation on site and commence earth-clearing works in the first half of 2020.

Construction was scheduled to commence in 2020, however, as a precautionary move to protect the health and wellbeing of the workforce, non-essential 2020 capital expenditure was temporarily deferred, including the Sukari solar plant.

“This is in order to minimise contractors and other non-operating traffic on and off site, while restrictions related to COVID-19 remain in place,” the company said. Despite this, the company still plans to integrate solar power into the Centamin mine in 2021.

Centamin said it continued to work towards reducing emissions intensity and is in the process of establishing science-induced absolute emissions targets for medium- (2025) and long-term (2030) target years.

Other carbon reduction strategies being considered by the miner include transitioning on-site vehicles to electric vehicles and alternative truck buckets to improve hauling efficiency, it said.

Renewable power on its way to Antofagasta’s Centinela mine

Antofagasta has signed a new power purchase agreement (PPA) with ENGIE Energía Chile SA that will see 100% of the power supplied to its Centinela copper operation, in Chile, come from renewable sources.

The contract, from 2022 until 2033, will replace two existing PPAs Antofagasta had in place that expire in 2026 and 2027. It will also see the company sell its indirect 40% interest in the Hornitos thermal power station to ENGIE, resulting in an attributable post-tax write down of some $43 million, it said.

After the write down, this new renewable energy contract will be value accretive as power costs will be significantly reduced in stages from 2020 onwards, Antofagasta noted.

Antofagasta’s CEO, Iván Arriagada, said: “With the completion of this agreement, from 2022, all our mining division’s power will be from renewable sources, and at a lower cost as well. This is an important step in achieving our target to reduce our carbon emissions by 300,000 t by 2022.”

Anglo American renews clean energy plans in Chile

Enel Generacion Chile and Anglo American, this week, signed a contract that will see the mining company use only renewable electricity to power its Chile operations from 2021.

The contract, for a total consumption of up to 3 TWh/y, is the largest in its type for independent customers in Chile, Enel said.

Anglo, in Chile, operates the Los Bronces and El Soldado copper mines, as well as the Chagres smelter.

Paolo Pallotti, General Manager of Enel Chile, said: With our generation matrix, becoming cleaner all the time, we have the possibility of submitting more competitive and sustainable offers for our customers.

“We are the first renewable energies operator in Chile and we are convinced that promoting this type of energy, we go out to meet our customers and we make significant contribution to the country.”

Hennie Faul, Anglo American Executive Chairman for Copper, said: “We are working from different fields in order to contribute towards a healthy environment. Our objective is to continue reducing our emissions, and to achieve efficient operations that are more careful in respect to their surroundings.

“The signing of this contract adds to other actions we are undertaking along the same line, such as the installation of the first PV plant, built over a tailings pile and the incorporation of electric buses for the transportation of our employees.”

The agreement, signed today will take effect in 2021 and shall be in force for 10 years, Enel said.

Solar power up and floating at former coal mine in Anhui, China

China state-owned developer CECEP has completed a 70 MWp floating solar plant on a former coal mining area, in Anhui Province, China, following tests and monitoring, according to the company that supplied the plant.

France-based Ciel & Terre said the floating photovoltaic (PV) plant will mainly aim to improve the energy structure in the province and quality of the environment on site. Constructor China Energy Conservation Solar Technology Co and the engineering procurement and construction contractor China Energy Engineering Group Shanxi Electric Power Design Institute Co contributed to the build, the biggest floating solar plant in the world.

To connect the 70 MWp floating PV power generation project to the national grid, a brand new 18-km-long 110 V overhead line was built to optimise the transport of electricity.

Ciel & Terre said: “Behind the installation of this complex is the will to improve the energy structure of Anhui Province as well as the ecological environment quality of the Lianghuai mining subsidence area.

“In the meantime, the initiative enables the promotion of the development of the ‘floatovoltaic’ technology, which also preserves water bodies. It prevents them from algae proliferation and oxidation, and even conserves water sources by reducing evaporation.”

The floating solar plant covers an area of 1.4 km² and is expected to generate up to 77,693 MWh in its first year, according to Ciel & Terre. This represents the electricity consumption of some 20,910 households.

“Within 25 years, the solar farm should generate around 1.94 million MWh,” the company said, saying the project adds to another 32 MWp GCL floating PV plant it supplied in Anhui.

Headed by CECEP, the complex was built using the tried-and-tested Hydrelio® technology designed by Ciel & Terre.
Ciel & Terre said: “CECEP chose Ciel & Terre for this major project for three complementary main reasons: the 13-year experience of the company in the field, the broad portfolio of 140 projects worldwide and the characteristic reliability and bankability of the Hydrelio system.”

Through this technical system, the company contributed to the Chinese National Energy Agency’s aim to “bolster energy infrastructure and environmental quality”, Ciel & Terre said.

Central inverters integrating medium voltage transformers have been used on this project – they stand on the water and not on the banks – while concrete poles support the electrical installation.

The anchorage system was designed and installed under the supervision of Ciel & Terre China, a subsidiary of the French company. Overall, 1,500 helical anchors were used for the project and buried from 8-m to 15 m-depth to fit the configuration of the site.

Orion Minerals looks at renewable options for Prieska zinc-copper project

Orion Minerals, through its subsidiary, Repli Trading No 27, has entered into a collaboration agreement with juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to investigate renewable energy generation for its Prieska zinc-copper project in the Northern Cape of South Africa.

The preliminary scope is to investigate the feasibility of generating and supplying 35 MW of electricity for Prieska, from a hybrid power system using integrated wind and solar technologies. The renewable energy generation site will be located within 20 km of Prieska, making the establishment of a dedicated feed via an overhead power transmission line possible, Orion said.

juwi is part of the international juwi Group, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies. Its business is focused on both solar energy and onshore wind energy. To date, juwi South Africa has built five utility-scale solar plants totalling 121 MW and developed the 138 MW Garob Wind Farm, which will soon start construction.

juwi South Africa also participates in the South Africa Government’s Small Independent Power Producer Program and operates and maintains all its solar projects on behalf of their owners.

In Australia, juwi was recently responsible for the project development, design, construction and now operations of a $40 million, 10 MW solar power facility which came into commercial operation in 2016 at Sandfire Resources’ DeGrussa copper-gold mine in Western Australia. Orion said: “This facility has since attracted international attention as the largest off-grid integrated solar and battery storage facility in the world. With close to three years of operational data and 100% uptime, this successful project has established juwi as leaders in hybrid power supply solutions for mines.”

The investigations into renewable energy solutions at Orion’s Prieska project will complement the ongoing bankable feasibility study, with the additional benefit of potentially improving the base case plan of obtaining national grid power directly from the Cuprum sub-station already established on site, Orion said.

“Developing the renewable energy potential of the region is also a strategic goal of local government, as communicated in its Integrated Development Plans,” Orion said.

The Prieska copper mine operated from 1971 to 1991, employing approximately 4,000 people. The mine milled 46.8 Mt, producing more than 430,000 t of copper and more than 1 Mt of zinc in concentrate. Post May 1987, no more than 2 Mt of ore was blasted, with milling of surface stockpiles carried out from 1989. In 1991, the mine was closed and the site rehabilitated. It now has a defined maiden resource under the Orion ownership of 1.1 Mt of contained zinc grading 3.8% Zn and 365,000 t of contained copper grading an average 1.2% Cu. The deposit is regarded as one of the world’s 30 largest VMS orebodies, according to Orion.