Tag Archives: solar power

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.

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.

Taseko Mines using innovation to increase production and efficiencies

The Taseko Mines story is indicative of the current environment miners find themselves in – maximise productivity to grow margins at existing operations or invest in innovative new methods of extracting critical metals that come with a reduced footprint.

The Vancouver-based company is pursuing both options at the two main assets on its books – the Gibraltar copper mine in British Columbia, Canada, and its Florence Copper project in Arizona, USA.

Gibraltar, owned 75% by Taseko, initially started up in 1972 as a 36,000 t/d operation. It was shut down in 1998 due to low copper prices before Taseko restarted it in 2004. In the years since, the company has invested over $800 million in the mine, increasing the throughput rate to 85,000 tons per day (77,111 t/d), where it’s been operating at since 2014.

The asset now sits as the second largest open-pit copper mine in Canada – with life of mine average annual production of 130 MIb (59,000 t) of copper and 2.5 MIb of molybdenum.

Stuart McDonald, President and CEO of the company, says the company continues to work on the trade-off of upping throughput – potentially past the nameplate capacity – and improving metallurgical recoveries at the operation.

This became apparent in the latest quarterly results, when Taseko reported an average daily throughput of 89,400 tons/d over the three-month period alongside “higher than normal” mining dilution.

The company believes Gibraltar can improve on both counts – mill throughput and mining dilution.

“We were optimistic coming into the new pit (Gibraltar Pit) that, based on the historical data, we could go above 85,000 tons/d as we got settled in and mined the softer ore,” McDonald told IM. “We still believe there are opportunities to go beyond that level, but, at some point, it becomes an optimisation and trade-off between throughput and recoveries.

“In our business, we’re not interested in maximising mill throughput; we’re interested in maximising copper production.”

On the dilution front, McDonald believes the problem will lessen as the mining moves to deeper benches in the Gibraltar Pit.

“As we go deeper, the ore continuity improves, so we hope the dilution effect will continue to improve too,” he said.

“The dilution rate is still not quite where we want it to be, so it’s a matter of looking at our operating practices carefully and following through a grade reconciliation process from our geological model through to assays from our blast holes, assays into the shovel bucket and all the way through to the mill.”

‘Assays into the shovel bucket’?

McDonald explained: “We do use ShovelSense® technology on two of our shovels, so that helps us assess the grade of the material in the shovel bucket.”

To this point, the company has leveraged most value from this XRF-based technology, developed by MineSense, when deployed on shovels situated in the boundaries between ore and waste. This offers the potential to reclassify material deemed to be ‘waste’ in the block model as ‘ore’ and vice versa, improving the grade of the material going to the mill and reducing processing of waste.

ShovelSense has been successful in carrying out this process with accuracy at other copper mines in British Columbia, including Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper operations and Copper Mountain Mining’s namesake operation.

McDonald concluded on this grade reconciliation process: “We just have to make sure we are tracing the material through all of those steps and not losing anything along the way. Gibraltar is a big earthmoving operation, so we must continue to keep the material flowing as well as look at the head grade.”

A different type of recovery

In Arizona at Florence Copper, Taseko has a different proposition on its hands.

Florence is a project that, when fully ramped up, could produce 40,000 t of high-quality copper cathode annually for the US domestic market.

It will do this by using a metal extraction and recovery method rarely seen in the copper space – in-situ recovery (ISR).

The planned ISR facility consists of an array of injection and recovery wells that will be used to inject a weak acid solution (raffinate – 99.5% water, 0.5% acid) into copper oxide ore and recover the copper-laden solution (pregnant leach solution) for processing into pure copper cathode sheets. The mine design is based on the use of five spot well patterns, with each pattern consisting of four extraction wells in a 100 ft (30.5 m) grid plus a central injection well. This mine outline and associated infrastructure comes with a modest capital expenditure figure of $230 million.

The company has been testing the ISR technology at Florence to ensure the recovery process works and the integrity of the wells remains intact.

Since acquiring Florence Copper in November 2014, Taseko has advanced the project through the permitting, construction and operating phase of the Phase 1 Production Test Facility (PTF). The PTF, a $25 million test facility, consists of 24 wells and the SX/EW plant. It commenced operations in December 2018.

Over the course of 18 months, Taseko evaluated the operational data, confirmed project economics and demonstrated the ability to produce high-quality copper cathode with stringent environmental guidelines at the PTF, the company says.

McDonald reflected: “We produced over 1 MIb [of copper] over this timeframe and then switched over from a copper production cycle into testing our ability to rinse the orebody and restore the mining area back to the permitted conditions.

“We’re proving our ability to do the mining and the reclamation, which we think is a critical de-risking step for the project.”

Over an 18-month period, Taseko produced 1 MIb from the ISR test facility at Florence

Taseko says Florence Copper is expected to have the lowest energy and greenhouse gas-intensity (GHG) of any copper producer in North America, with McDonald saying the operation’s carbon footprint will mostly be tied to the electricity consumption required.

“Our base case is to use electricity from the Arizona grid, which has a combination of renewables, nuclear and gas-fired power plants,” he said. “In the longer-term, there are opportunities at Florence to switch to completely 100% renewable sources, with the most likely candidate being solar power.

“At that point, with renewable energy powering our plant, we could be producing a copper product with close to zero carbon associated with it.”

Gibraltar has also been labelled as a “low carbon intensity operation” by Skarn Associates who, in a 2020 report, said the operation ranked in the lowest quartile compared with other copper mines throughout the world when it comes to Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

When it comes to the question of when Florence could start producing, Taseko is able to reflect on recent successful permitting activities.

In December 2020, the company received the Aquifer Protection Permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, with the only other permit required prior to construction being the Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On September 29, the EPA concluded its public comment period on the draft UIC it issued following a virtual public hearing that, according to Taseko, demonstrated strong support for the Florence Copper project among local residents, business organisations, community leaders and state-wide organisations. Taseko says it has reviewed all the submitted comments and is confident they will be fully addressed by the EPA during its review, prior to issuing the final UIC permit.

Future improvements

In tandem with its focus on permitting and construction at Florence, and upping performance at Gibraltar, the company has longer-term aims for its operations.

For instance, the inclusion of more renewables to get Florence’s copper production to carbon-neutral status could allow the company to benefit from an expected uptick in demand for a product with such credentials. If the demand side requirements for copper continue to evolve in the expected manner, it is easy to see Taseko receiving a premium for its low- or no-carbon product over the 20-year mine life.

At Gibraltar, it is also pursuing a copper cathode strategy that could lead to the re-start of its SX-EW plant. In the past, this facility processed leachate from oxide waste dumps at the operation.

“As we get into 2024, we see some additional oxide ore coming out of the Connector Pit, which gives us the opportunity to restart that leach operation and have some additional pounds coming out of the mine,” McDonald said.

Alongside this, the company is thinking about leaching other ore types at Gibraltar.

“There are new technologies coming to the market in terms of providing mines with the opportunity to leach sulphides as well as oxides,” McDonald said. “We’re in the early stages of that work, but we have lots of waste rock at the property and, if there is a potential revenue stream for it, we will look at leveraging that.”

JUWI commissions ‘world’s largest’ solar hybrid project at Egyptian mine site

JUWI says it has commissioned the world’s largest solar hybrid project at Centamin’s Sukari mine in Egypt, helping the gold miner save more than 20 million litres of diesel a year.

The system consists of a 36 MW solar farm and a 7.5 MW battery-energy storage system, which have been integrated into the existing diesel power station at the operation. This will provide savings of up to 70,000 liters of diesel per day, according to JUWI, resulting in an average reduction in diesel consumption of 22 million liters per year.

The system demonstrates the key role of renewable energies in decarbonising the resource sector and already delivers savings ahead of expectations, according to JUWI.

Centamin noted in October that it was in the final stages of commissioning the solar plant at the operation.

The solar system designed by JUWI has maximised the generation with bifacial solar photovoltaic modules and a single axis tracking system, taking advantage of the high irradiance on site. JUWI Hybrid IQ micro-grid technology enables the integration of the solar and battery system into the existing off-grid network and supports the operation of the existing power station, it says.

The additional benefits of the hybrid power solution at Sukari, according to JUWI, include lowering the site’s carbon emissions by an estimated 60,000 t CO2/y and a subsequent reduction in the volume of diesel trucked to the site, plus a reduction in operating costs

Stephan Hansen, COO and Managing Director of JUWI,said: “We are delighted to have been able to deliver this flagship project to Centamin and, furthermore, to have been able to demonstrate the vital role that dependable solar, wind and battery solutions can already play in the transformation of the resource sector on the de-carbonisation pathway.”

JUWI has already achieved success for mining clients globally with the world’s first utility scale solar battery hybrid project at the DeGrussa Copper mine in Australia. This was followed by Agnew Gold (Australia) in 2019 and another six hybrid projects in Australia and Africa for Tier 1 and Mid Tier miners: Esperance, Pan African Resources, Jacinth Ambrosia, Jabiru, Weipa and Gruyere.

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.

AngloGold investigating use of battery-electric vehicles at Cuiaba mine in Brazil

AngloGold Ashanti says it is weighing up the potential introduction of battery-electric vehicles at its Cuiaba mine in Brazil as a small part of a wider initiative to achieve a 30% absolute reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The company says this carbon emission reduction target could be met through a combination of renewable energy projects, fleet electrification and lower-emission power sources. The company has already reduced its absolute GHG emissions by more than two thirds since 2007, and remains committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The targeted reduction announced today, from a 2021 baseline of 1.4 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), aims to see emissions from the company’s activities diminish to about 1 Mt by the end of the decade. When growth projects are factored in, including those in Nevada and Colombia, AngloGold Ashanti is targeting a 46% reduction in emissions by the end of the decade.

The capital cost required to achieve these reductions over the coming eight years is anticipated to be about $1.1 billion, of which $350 million will be funded over that period by AngloGold Ashanti and the remaining $750 million through third-party funding, including from providers of renewable energy infrastructure. The company plans in the coming weeks to initiate a process to secure a green funding facility of $250-300 million to finance its portion of these decarbonisation initiatives across its business.

“We have a clear pathway to achieve our target by 2030, when we expect to have lowered our overall emissions by almost a third,” AngloGold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer, Alberto Calderon, said. “This ensures we continue to do our part in reducing our carbon footprint, while also improving the value of our business.”

The targeted reductions announced today incorporate initiatives at each business unit including the introduction of renewable energy, cleaner grid power and partial fleet electrification.

Approximately 60% of the planned emissions reductions will come from large renewable energy projects including wind and solar projects at the company’s Australian operations and solar-power plants at both Siguiri in Guinea and the Iduapriem and Obuasi operations in Ghana, AngloGold said. In addition, a prefeasibility study has commenced at the Cuiaba mine in Brazil to confirm the benefits of replacing some mobile fleet with battery-electric vehicles. AngloGold will also be working with Sandvik to trial underground mining’s largest-capacity BEV truck, the 65-t payload TH665B at Sunrise Dam.

The Cuiabá complex includes the Cuiabá and Lamego underground mines and the Cuiabá and Queiroz plants. Ore from the Cuiabá and Lamego mines is processed at the Cuiabá gold plant. The concentrate produced is transported by aerial ropeway to the Queiroz plant for processing and refining. Total annual capacity of the complete Cuiabá circuit is 1.75 Mt.

The viability of a wind farm at Cerro Vanguardia in Argentina is also being investigated. The vast majority of these projects are expected to be NPV-positive adding value to the business by reducing energy costs and improving energy security, the company said.

Two “clean grid” initiatives are already close to completion – a switch from diesel generation at the Geita mine site in Tanzania to the country’s national power grid, which has a high proportion of power sourced from gas and renewables, and the transition to full hydro-grid power in Brazil.

Rio Tinto’s Richard Bay Minerals to go solar with help of Voltalia, BEE partners

Rio Tinto’s 74%-owned Richard’s Bay Minerals (RBM) business will soon be supplied with renewable solar power through an agreement with international energy company Voltalia and local Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partners, for its operation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Rio says.

Under the agreement, Voltalia will begin construction of the Bolobedu Solar PV renewable energy project in 2023, at a site in the province of Limpopo. The power plant is scheduled to be complete by 2024 and will deliver an annual generation capacity of up to 300 GWh. It will feed into the national power grid to supply RBM’s smelting and processing facilities through a “wheeling agreement”.

The renewable power supply is expected to cut RBM’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10%, or 237,000 t/y of CO2e, Rio says.

Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive, Sinead Kaufman, said: “The agreement, which is a first step towards reducing RBM’s carbon emissions, is a major milestone and one that is in line with Rio Tinto’s decarbonisation strategy. As this solar energy project progresses, we will continue exploring additional renewable solutions that further reduce our emissions in South Africa and make Richards Bay Minerals a contributor to our net zero commitment.”

Voltalia CEO, Sébastien Clerc, added: “We are very pleased to support RBM in its decarbonisation journey. The Bolobedu photovoltaic power plant will be our biggest project in Africa, after performing construction of a series of other solar plants for us or for clients, in the continent (Zimbabwe, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritania and Egypt). This project is the first of our South African large solar-and-wind portfolio under development, in areas with grid connection available, that will be ready to support our clients to overpass the actual energy crisis with affordable, clean and stable electricity.”

Voltalia will work to ensure the Bolobedu Solar PV project creates local employment opportunities for the surrounding communities. A total workforce of more than 700 people is expected during construction, with a workforce of around 50 people once the plant becomes operational.

The project will also provide skills development opportunities for members of the surrounding communities, and a bursary program for young local learners. In support of South Africa’s growing renewable energy sector value chain, Voltalia will work to source its goods and services locally.

The Bolobedu Solar PV power plant will be 51% black-owned through BEE partners, with a minimum 10% stake going to black women, while the host community will also have a participation.

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 looks to halve WA Iron Ore port facility emissions with Alinta Energy pact

BHP says it expects to halve emissions from the generation of electricity used to power its WA Iron Ore port facilities in Port Hedland by the end of 2024, following the signing of a large-scale renewable Power Purchase Agreement with Alinta Energy.

The halving of reported emissions, based on current forecast demand and compared with financial year 2020 (FY2020) reported emissions, will contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce operational emissions by at least 30% from FY2020 levels by 2030 and the company’s long-term goal of achieving net zero operational emissions by 2050.

This agreement between BHP and Alinta will see the construction and connection of a 45 MW solar farm and 35 MW battery energy storage system into Alinta Energy’s existing Port Hedland power station, approximately 14 km from BHP’s port facilities, BHP says.

The construction of the solar farm, subject to final regulatory approvals, is expected to begin in December 2022 and create 200 jobs.

Once completed, it is expected that 100% of the forecasted average daytime energy requirements for BHP’s port facilities will be powered by solar generation, with the remaining power requirements to be met through the integrated battery energy storage system and market access to Alinta Energy’s existing gas fuelled power station facilities.

BHP is the foundation customer of Alinta’s solar battery hybrid project, which is expected to be the first large-scale renewable facility at Port Hedland and will support the expansion of the renewable energy industry in Western Australia.

In addition, BHP and Alinta Energy have entered into a memorandum of understanding in relation to the development of the Shay Gap Wind Farm. The Shay Gap Wind Farm is currently planned to be 45 MW, with a potential first-generation date of 2027.

The PPA is the latest milestone in BHP progressing its plan to reduce operational emissions in line with BHP’s climate targets and goals.

In recent years, it has signed power purchase agreements to provide renewable energy to BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia, Olympic Dam operations in South Australia, BMA operations in Queensland and the Escondida copper mine in Chile.

BHP’s WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “The world needs WA’s high quality iron ore to support economic development and decarbonisation, and we are committed to supplying iron ore more sustainably while investing in WA and creating local jobs. We are delighted to expand our partnership with Alinta Energy as we seek to lower emissions from our WA iron ore business.”

Alinta Energy MD and CEO, Jeff Dimery, said that BHP was once again demonstrating strong leadership in the transition to net zero.

“This is exactly the kind of leadership, progress and smart use of renewables and storage that we need from companies like BHP to show the way forward for Australia,” he said. “We’re excited to get the project underway and thank BHP for their partnership and vision.”