Tag Archives: renewables

Rio Tinto, Yindjibarndi Energy Corp sign renewable MoU for Pilbara operations

Rio Tinto and Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation (YEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore opportunities to collaborate on renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi country in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The two companies will study and evaluate a range of opportunities including wind and solar power as well as battery energy storage systems. The initial focus is on rapidly exploring the potential development of a solar power generation facility for the supply of energy to Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto operates four gas-fired power stations in the Pilbara. About 600 MW to 700 MW of renewable generation is estimated to be required to displace the majority of gas use across its network. The company is currently assessing the development of approximately 300 MW of solar projects. The collaboration opportunities currently being explored by Rio Tinto and YEC, if progressed, would be complementary to renewable energy developments on Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s electricity grid.

YEC was established in June following an agreement between Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) and renewable energy developer ACEN Corporation (ACEN) to progress the development of major renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi Ngurra (country) – an area covering approximately 13,000 sq.km within the Yindjibarndi Native Title Determination Areas.

YEC’s initial plans include a Stage 1 target of 750 MW of combined wind, solar and battery storage with construction to commence within the next few years. The collaboration opportunities being considered by Rio Tinto and YEC relate to some of these Stage 1 projects.

YAC Chief Executive, Michael Woodley, said: “Yindjibarndi Ngurra is ideally suited to developing renewable energy generation and our people are encouraged by Rio Tinto’s interest in building this capacity with us. This will strengthen our existing partnership and provide long term benefits for our community, while also ensuring that we can protect and preserve the areas of cultural, spiritual and environmental significance within our Ngurra.”

ACEN International CEO, Patrice Clausse, said: “This MoU signifies more than just a partnership; it’s a testament to the shared vision of sustainable energy development on Yindjibarndi Ngurra. It is the perfect blend of traditional significance and modern technology, designed to harness the limitless potential of the Pilbara’s sun and wind, while respecting the deep-rooted connection of the Yindjibarndi people with their land.

“Together, we are crafting an energy future that is not only renewable, but also renewing, by empowering local communities and contributing to a greener future.”

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “We are focused on repowering our Pilbara operations with renewable energy through the end of this decade and beyond by replacing gas and diesel with clean energy alternatives. The Pilbara is blessed with abundant year-round sunshine and strong winds at night, making it one of the most attractive places in the world to harness solar and wind power for energy generation. We’re excited to be deepening our partnership with the Yindjibarndi People through this agreement and look forward to working closely with them.

“We recognise we have a large carbon footprint in the Pilbara and are exploring a number of innovative solutions to help address this, including future collaborations with other Traditional Owner groups in the region.”

Rio Tinto has committed to reducing its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2030 across its global operations, with an estimated $7.5 billion planned to be spent on decarbonisation projects, predominantly in the second half of the decade. These projects will support a longer-term ambition of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Rio Tinto’s rail network, which connects its Pilbara mines to ports at Cape Lambert and Dampier in Western Australia, traverses Yindjibarndi Country. Rio Tinto has held a Participation Agreement and Indigenous Land Use Agreement with YAC, the representative body for the Yindjibarndi people, since 2013.

Last year, Rio Tinto and YAC signed an updated agreement aimed at strengthening ties and delivering improved social and economic outcomes for the Yindjibarndi people. The agreement reflects a joint commitment to work together to create more opportunities for the Yindjibarndi people to participate in Rio Tinto’s operations, including direct and indirect employment opportunities, and build sustainable long-term benefits to the community.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance secures half of Central Queensland power requirements with renewables

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has entered into a new renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland’s publicly-owned energy generator and retailer CleanCo, which, the company says, is expected to provide half the forecasted electricity demand of BMA’s Central Queensland operations over five years from January 2026.

The new PPA will run to the end of 2030 and effectively extend an existing low carbon emission power agreement between BMA and CleanCo currently running to the end of 2025.

This second PPA will enable BMA to continue to source half of its expected electricity needs from low greenhouse gas emission sources such as solar and wind, as well as pumped hydro.

BHP President Australia, Geraldine Slattery, said: “We are increasing renewable electricity at BMA in line with our decarbonisation commitments to 2030 and beyond, improving the long-term sustainability of our business while at the same time supporting Queensland’s renewable electricity infrastructure build, regional communities and local jobs.

“We expect demand for Queensland’s higher-quality metallurgical coal to remain strong for many years to come, as major steelmakers look to reduce their emissions intensity while delivering the steel needed to support global population growth and decarbonisation infrastructure.”

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “Using more renewable electricity at our operated assets across the globe is key to our operational decarbonisation strategy. We are pleased to continue our strong relationship with CleanCo.

“Through a growing number of agreements to supply our mines in Chile, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia with renewable electricity, we are making good progress on decarbonisation while supporting the development of renewable infrastructure and stimulating regional economies.”

The new PPA will help support four renewable electricity projects across regional Queensland, which combined are expected to generate more than 1,500 local jobs during construction: the Dulacca Wind Farm due for completion in late 2023, the MacIntyre Wind Farm due for completion in 2025, and the Western Downs Green Power Hub and Kaban Wind Farm that currently supply electricity to the grid and are expected to reach full commercial operation later this year.

The PPA is also linked to CleanCo’s new renewable energy storage initiative, which directs excess renewables to the Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station to support an increase in around-the-clock renewable supply and cost management.

CleanCo CEO, Tom Metcalfe, said: “At CleanCo we are committed to providing tailored, clean energy solutions to help our customers decarbonise.

“It is our role to develop solutions that meet the unique energy needs of these companies so that they can thrive in a net zero future and I am thrilled BMA has entrusted CleanCo to continue to supply reliable, renewable energy for its operations.”

BHP is on track to achieve its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by FY2030 (from FY2020 levels). BHP also has a long-term goal to achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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.

Westgold’s Clean Energy Transition initiative accelerates with start up of first hybrid power station

The Tuckabianna hybrid power facility – the first of four new hybrid power stations being developed for Westgold Resources – has commenced operations, in Western Australia; a major milestone for the gold miner and its Clean Energy Transition initiative.

The four facilities – at Tuckabianna, Bluebird, Fortnum and Big Bell – are expected to provide substantial reductions in emissions and power costs across Westgold’s operations in the Murchison and Bryah regions of Western Australia, according to Pacific Energy, the provider of these solutions. The system will have a combined installed capacity of 82 MW, providing an expected annual reduction of 38 million litres in diesel fuel usage and approximately 57,000 t/y less CO2-equivalent emissions.

Westgold Chair, Cheryl Edwardes, and Managing Director, Wayne Bramwell, joined business partners, local officials and Traditional Owners on site to open the 17.9 MW facility this week.

The Tuckabianna facility includes a 6 MW solar farm fitted with 11,088 photovoltaic panels, a battery energy storage system with 2.4 MW installed capacity, and a 9.5 MW gas-fuelled power station.

The gas-fired power stations, battery storage and solar farms are owned and operated by Pacific Energy under an Electricity Purchase Agreement, and the LNG is provided by Clean Energy Fuels Australia (CEFA) under an LNG supply agreement. These agreements were signed last year.

These agreements will deliver substantial operating cost savings to Westgold in its 2023-2024 financial years onwards of around A$100/oz ($68/oz) at the then current diesel price and supports its commitment to environmental, social and governance initiatives that will reduce the company’s long term greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

Westgold’s Bramwell said: “Westgold continues to innovate to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and drive our operating costs down. This new hybrid power facility at Tuckabianna incorporates renewable energy and is a great first step along this journey, with power generated from these facilities energising our mines and processing hubs for decades to come. The successful commissioning of Tuckabianna is a testament to the tireless work of Westgold’s project and operational teams, business partners at Pacific Energy and CEFA and construction crews who have delivered our first power station safely and on schedule.”

Pacific Energy CEO, Jamie Cullen, said: “Congratulations to the Pacific Energy and Westgold project teams for delivering the Tuckabianna hybrid station – on time, and most importantly safely and incident free. Tuckabianna is part of a larger project to consolidate six existing power stations into four high efficiency hybrid power stations that incorporate gas, solar and battery storage systems. Collectively this represents one of the largest fully integrated hybrid power systems in the Australian mining sector.

“As a valued client of Pacific Energy since 2015, we are delighted to join Westgold on its transition to a cleaner energy future.”

JUWI’s renewable rollout in South Africa continues with Sibanye-Stillwater deployment

JUWI Renewable Energies, a leading global solar, wind and hybrid project developer, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and operations and maintenance company, has announced that it has 400 MW of EPC projects in advanced stages of development for mines in South Africa.

The news follows the financial close of the 89 MW Castle Wind project by the African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) Consortium for Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations, a project initially developed by JUWI for the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers’ Programme (REI4P). The AIIM Consortium included African Clean Energy Developments as developer and Reatile as investment partner.

“We’re seeing a wave of formal requests for renewable energy projects from South African mines, largely driven by the energy crisis, commercial considerations and decarbonisation targets,” Richard Doyle, Managing Director, JUWI SA, said.

“The right regulation has been needed to translate this demand into actual projects for mines. The amendments to the licence-exemption threshold and ability to wheel electricity are now allowing us to pivot projects initially developed for REI4P, such as the Castle Wind project, into the private sector, making them a reality. This is a significant milestone for our team of experts who work tirelessly to advance the renewable energy transition in Africa.”

Wheeling is the act of transporting electricity from a generator to a remotely located end-user through the grid. With most large mines and energy users in South Africa lacking land for large-scale wind and solar projects, the ability to wheel electricity is essential for self generation, according to JUWI.

Chris Bellingham, Head of Project Development, JUWI, explained: “The ability to wheel power through the network combined with the far lower electricity tariffs of solar and wind projects, incentivises mines to either remotely generate their own electricity or purchase it from remote independent power producers, thereby sourcing generation from sites where the resource is stronger. This is a real win for mines, allowing them to save costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and when used in combination with backup technologies, avoid load shedding.”

Sumeet Ramandh, the project’s Development Manager, said  JUWI initiated the Castle Wind project in 2011 and, although there were extensive delays with the government’s procurement process, it remained dedicated to transforming the site into a notable renewable energy asset for South Africa.

“With the recent regulatory improvements, JUWI took the decision to sell the project to the AIIM Consortium, which secured an Eskom agreement to wheel energy from the wind farm to power Sibanye-Stillwater’s mining operations,” he said.

At the start of the year, JUWI reported that it had 4 GW of renewable energy projects in various stages of development across Africa, with another 1 GW to be initiated in 2023. The company also recently signed an EPC agreement with Pan African Resources to construct a 8.75 MW solar plant for the its Fairview mine.

Pacific Energy to integrate more ‘clean energy’ into Tropicana gold operation

Pacific Energy says it has been awarded the contract to integrate 62 MW of clean energy into its existing 54 MW gas fired power system at the Tropicana gold mine, 330 km northeast of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Tropicana is owned by AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd (70% and manager) and Regis Resources Ltd (30%).

The renewable expansion of the existing power system will be delivered under a 10-year build-own-operate agreement. When completed, the 116 MW power station will be the largest off-grid hybrid investment in the power provider’s portfolio, and, at time of contract, the largest off-grid gas-wind-solar-battery storage facility in the Australian resources sector, according to Pacific Energy.

The expansion will incorporate four 6 MW wind turbines, a 24 MW solar farm and a 14 MW battery storage system (BESS). The integrated power facility’s intelligent control system, which has been developed in-house by Pacific Energy, will optimise input from the high penetration renewable energy and storage technologies and allow the system to run hydrocarbons-free for extended periods of time, the company says.

Pacific Energy has designed the new system to support AngloGold Ashanti’s strategy of reducing its global net carbon emissions from energy use by 30% by 2030, as part of its roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Overall, the renewables integration is expected to reduce Tropicana’s diesel and gas consumption for power generation by 96% and 50% respectively, slashing carbon emissions by an average of 65,000 t/y over the life of the agreement, according to Pacific Energy.

Pacific Energy Chief Executive, Jamie Cullen, said: “This is an excellent outcome for our long-time client, AngloGold Ashanti. We’ve been on the journey with them since 2012 and we are incredibly pleased to apply proven global technologies and our in-house expertise to help decarbonise their operations without losing power reliability or efficiency.

“To date, we are the only operator to successfully supply hydrocarbons-free power to mine sites in Australia.

“We expect our new system to reduce the mine site’s overall power generation emissions by 50%. It’s a really exciting prospect for us and AngloGold Ashanti, and one we’ve worked hard to achieve on our client’s behalf.”

Delivery of the project, which is slated to be Australia’s most remote large-scale hybrid power system, will be coordinated by Pacific Energy’s Remote Energy and Integrated Renewables divisions. The company will capitalise on its fully-integrated capabilities by manufacturing the BESS, high-voltage switch room and PV ring main units in house at its Western Australia-based facilities, it says.

Pacific Energy is expected to begin site works in July this year, with the project due for completion in early 2025.

BHP and Hatch commence design study for an electric smelting furnace pilot

BHP and global engineering, project management and professional services firm, Hatch, have signed an agreement to design an electric smelting furnace pilot (ESF) plant in support of a decision to construct this facility in Australia.

The facility will aim to demonstrate a pathway to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) intensity in steel production using iron ore from BHP’s Pilbara mines for BHP’s steelmaking customer, BHP says.

The small-scale demonstration plant would be used to collaborate with steel producers and technology providers to generate and share learnings with the aim of accelerating scale up of ESF plant designs.

The pilot facility would be intended to test and optimise production of iron from the ESF, a new type of furnace that is being developed by leading steel producers and technology companies targeting low CO2 emission-intensity steel. The ESF is capable of producing steel from iron ore using renewable electricity and hydrogen replacing coking coal, when combined with a direct reduced iron (DRI) step. Estimates show that reductions of more than 80% in CO2 emission intensity are potentially achievable processing Pilbara iron ores through a DRI-ESF pathway, compared with the current industry average for the conventional blast furnace steel route, BHP says.

The ESF allows for greater flexibility in input raw materials, addressing a key barrier to wider adoption of other lower CO2 emissions production routes, such as use of electric arc furnaces which are designed for scrap steel and high grade DRI only. The ESF also has the potential to be integrated into a steel plant’s existing downstream production units.

The pilot facility will enable deeper and more accurate insights into the performance of this technology for converting iron ores into molten iron and steel. Planned test programs will help de-risk further investment in commercial scale projects, thereby complementing development plans of BHP’s steel customers. This scale-up approach has been utilised by other industry demonstrations such as Sweden’s HYBRIT project, BHP added.

BHP and Hatch will assess several locations in Australia for the proposed facility based on supporting infrastructure, technology skills and the availability of local partnerships to build and operate the facility.

BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “We see the ESF process as a critical breakthrough in significantly reducing the carbon emissions intensity of steel production and one that provides an opportunity for iron ore from our Pilbara mines. The steel industry has identified the ESF as a viable option to use a wider range of raw materials and steel companies globally are looking to build commercial-scale ESF plants as part of their CO2 emission reduction roadmaps.”

BHP’s Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers, said: “Hatch is a key partner in carbon emissions reduction initiatives across the world. We are pleased that we can collaborate with Hatch, alongside BHP’s existing customer and research partnerships, to further progress the development of pathways towards a lower GHG emission footprint for the steelmaking industry. The ESF technology is very exciting and potentially very relevant for reducing the carbon emissions intensity of steel production and provides new and exciting opportunities for our Pilbara iron ore and our customers.

“BHP and Hatch have collaborated on steel technology and design for reducing GHG emissions from over several years, including the ESF and in collaboration with steel producers, and this project is a natural progression in our partnership.”

Hatch’s Managing Director for Bulk Metals, Joe Petrolito, said: “Hatch is excited to collaborate with BHP on this forward-looking initiative and is honored to contribute to the efforts of an industry leader who is dedicated to driving tangible progress. This project marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of decarbonisation within a challenging sector that underpins global infrastructure and progress.”

Zenith Energy gears up to supply 95 MW of hybrid power to Liontown’s Kathleen Valley project

Zenith Energy has converted the Letter of Award it signed with Liontown Resources to supply electricity to the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia into a Power Purchase Agreement.

The PPA will see Zenith supply the project with electricity for a period of 15 years as part of a 95 MW hybrid power station setup at the mine.

Zenith has, since the signing of the Letter of Award, announced in September, progressed the planning, engineering and design works for the hybrid power station, including the order of long-lead items such as the wind turbines.

With 46 MW of emission-free power generation capacity, the 95 MW hybrid power station is currently expected to be one of the largest off-grid wind-solar-battery storage renewable energy facilities in the mining industry in Australia.

The thermal components are designed to operate in “engine off” mode at various times, enabling Liontown to operate from 100% renewable energy during periods of high wind and solar resource, the companies say.

The hybrid power station is expected to start up around the same time as the Kathleen Valley process plant is commissioned, currently slated for the first half of 2024.

The plant will include wind generation from five wind turbines each capable of generating 6 MW. A 16 MWp fixed axis solar photovoltaic array coupled to a 17 MW/19 MWh battery energy storage system will provide additional clean energy, supported by synchronous condensers that provide critical system stability and resilience, Zenith said. The thermal power component will comprise 27 MW of gas generation and 5 MW of diesel standby generation.

Kathleen Valley is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade hard-rock lithium deposits and, with an initial 2.5 Mt/y production capacity, is expected to supply circa-500,000 t/y of 6% lithium oxide concentrate, according to the company. With first production expected in June quarter of 2024, the deposit will also produce tantalum pentoxide.

Mitsui and Rio Tinto to explore low-emission supply chain options

Mitsui & Co has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rio Tinto to jointly explore opportunities for reducing emissions and transforming the world’s supply chains.

Under the MoU, Mitsui and Rio Tinto will work closely together to examine more sustainable measures such as reducing the carbon content of raw materials for iron and steel production; developing new renewable energy; supplying alternative fuels such as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen; decarbonisation in marine transportation; decarbonisation of mobility at mining sites; and initiatives like nature-based solutions, carbon credits and others.

The new partnership builds on Mitsui and Rio Tinto’s long history of collaboration, stretching back to the beginnings of the Robe River Joint Venture in Western Australia, which this year celebrated 50 years of iron ore shipments to Japan. The MoU combines Mitsui’s vast network, assets and accumulated industry knowledge with Rio Tinto’s grand-scale supply chain and leading position in the mining & metal industry, the companies said.

Nevada Gold Mines kicks off construction of 200 MWAC TS Solar Facility

Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) says it is building a 200 MWAC (Megawatt, alternating current) photovoltaic solar facility to accelerate its decarbonisation program in line with Barrick’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap.

NGM, majority owned and operated by Barrick Gold Corporation, hosted a celebratory groundbreaking ceremony this week, marking the commencement of construction of its TS Solar Facility. The facility is adjacent to NGM’s TS Power Plant near Dunphy, Nevada.

The solar array will be constructed in a single phase with commercial production expected in the June quarter of 2024.

NGM is partnering with three Nevada-based contractors to complete the civil, solar substation and mechanical construction. Domestically-sourced steel piles are arriving on site in preparation for module foundation construction and tracker installation. At peak, the project is expected to employ approximately 250 people.

NGM Executive Managing Director, Peter Richardson, said: “At NGM, we embed the principles of partnership and sustainability into every decision we make. We continually seek opportunities to source materials and labour as close to our projects as possible. The TS Solar Facility is a great example of how we can partner with local resources on a project that not only benefits the environment, but also provides sustainable long-term social and economic benefits.”

Upon completion, the project will supply renewable energy to NGM’s operations and realise 254,000 t of CO2-equivalent emissions reduction per year, according to NGM. This will result in an 8% emission reduction from the company’s 2018 baseline.

NGM has committed to a 20% carbon reduction by 2025, which will be achieved through the TS Solar facility and the modification of NGM’s TS Power Plant, providing the ability to use cleaner burning natural gas as a fuel source.

Barrick is targeting an overall 30% reduction in emissions by 2030 with the goal of achieving net-zero by 2050.