Tag Archives: solar power

Rio Tinto backs accelerated Scope 1 and 2 carbon emission cuts with $7.5 billion of investments

Rio Tinto has outlined a new target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target. To achieve this, it is setting aside around $7.5 billion of direct investments between 2022 and 2030.

Unveiled during an investor seminar this week, Rio said a 15% reduction in emissions is now targeted for 2025, five years earlier than previously stated, relative to its 2018 baseline of 32.6 Mt (CO2 equivalent – equity basis).

In recognition of the broader carbon footprint of the commodities it produces, Rio says it will accelerate its investment in R&D and development of technologies that enable its customers to decarbonise. Working in partnership with governments, suppliers, customers, academia and others, Rio intends to continue to develop technologies like ELYSIS™ for carbon-free aluminium and multiple pathways to produce green steel.

To meet additional demand created by the global drive to net zero emissions, Rio Tinto will prioritise growth capital in commodities vital for this transition with an ambition to double growth capital expenditure to about $3 billion a year from 2023, it said.

Rio Tinto can decarbonise, pursue growth and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders due to its strong balance sheet, world-class assets and focus on capital discipline, it explained.

Some key points from the presentation include:

  • Decarbonisation of the Pilbara will be accelerated by targeting the rapid deployment of 1 GW of wind and solar power. This would abate around 1 Mt of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure and support early electrification of mining equipment;
  • Full electrification of the Pilbara system, including all trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations, will require further gigawatt-scale renewable deployment and advances in fleet technologies
  • Options to provide a greener steelmaking pathway for Pilbara iron ore are being investigated, including with biomass and hydrogen;
  • Options are progressing to switch the Boyne Island and Tomago smelters in Australia to renewable energy, which will require an estimated circa-5 GW (equity basis) of solar and wind power, along with a robust “firming solution”;
  • Development of ELYSIS to eliminate carbon emissions from the smelting process is progressing, with commercial scale technology on track for 2024.

Pilbara Minerals enlists Contract Power Australia for Pilgangoora solar power plans

Pilbara Minerals Limited has announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between its wholly owned subsidiary, Pilgangoora Operations Pty Ltd, and Contract Power Australia that could see a 6 MW solar array built at the Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia.

The solar array is, the company says, an important demonstration of its commitment to implementing environmentally friendly power solutions, as a part of its pledge to transition to net-zero emissions (scope 1 and 2) in the decade commencing 2040.

Pilbara Minerals said it looks forward to continuing its working relationship with Contract Power and the broader Pacific Energy Group, which began in 2018 when the first baseload power station was installed at Pilgangoora. The PPA involves a 15-year contract to construct, operate and maintain a 6 MW solar array, which is estimated to displace 3.8 million litres/y of diesel fuel, saving an estimated 9,900 t of CO2/y over the contract period.

“A key factor in awarding this exciting new renewable energy project to Contract Power was their established track record and ability to design and safely deliver turnkey energy projects,” the company added.

It is anticipated that procurement for the project will commence imminently with commissioning expected in late July 2022, and commercial operation from the end of August 2022. The design facilitates the future expansion of solar capacity and potential inclusion of battery storage at Pilgangoora, as Pilbara Minerals creates further efficiencies around its power supply and storage solutions at Pilgangoora, it said.

The installation of the first phase of the solar farm is just one part of the initial rationalisation of power assets at Pilgangoora, as the company further integrates the Ngungaju Operation. A local power network will be created to join the Ngungaju and Pilgan Plants, and the Carlindi camp facilities thereby creating further efficiencies, Pilbara Minerals explained.

Pilbara Minerals’ longer-term objectives include integration with other northern Pilbara power and/or gas and renewables sources with a view to creating further efficiency gains on the path to net-zero carbon.

BHP closes in on renewable energy supply for Olympic Dam mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ferrexpo sets decarbonisation course to 2030 and 2050

Iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo has announced inaugural decarbonisation targets that includes a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions from its operations by 2050.

In addition, the group has undertaken an initial commitment to achieve a minimum of a 30% reduction in combined Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, against the group’s baseline year for emissions (2019), in line with its peer group.

The company is engaging with climate change specialists Ricardo Plc to help develop science-based decarbonisation targets as a second-phase of publishing carbon commitments.

Ricardo has also been hired to enhance the group’s existing climate change scenario reporting and review the role of Ferrexpo’s iron ore pellets within the circular economy. Results of this analysis is expected to enhance the group’s carbon reduction targets and to further develop climate change reporting in 2022, it says.

In the 18 months to June 2021, the group has recorded a carbon reduction in excess of 20%, according to Jim North, Interim Group Chief Executive Officer. This, he said, is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to the environment.

“Through working with Ricardo, it is our intention to engage with stakeholders in 2022 with a clear, science-based understanding of our carbon journey that lies ahead,” he said.

Tim Curtis – Energy & Environment Managing Director, Ricardo Plc, added: “In setting targets to decarbonise the manufacturing of their iron ore pellets, Ferrexpo is driving change in the industry which will contribute to a low carbon transition and benefit organisations using Ferrexpo products in their supply chain.”

Some of the carbon reduction targets the company has pursued to this point include plans for a 5 MW pilot solar plant, use of sunflower husks in its pelletiser, and the potential use of a trolley line at its iron ore operations.

Northern Star and Nomadic Energy boost solar power capacity at Carosue Dam

Northern Star Resources has recently worked with Nomadic Energy to commission an additional 3.3 MW of solar power at its Carosue Dam gold operations in Western Australia.

Nomadic worked with the Carosue team to install and commission the solar farm over a six-week period using pre-fabricated mobile arrays, pre-made DC harnesses and modular inverter stands.

The solar project has a DC capacity of 3.32 MW, which was made up of 8,100 410 W panels on 90 pre-fabricated mobile arrays. The maximum AC output of the farm is 2.75 MW AC, which, in combination with the original solar farm, brings the total site solar penetration to 3.5 MW AC.

Northern Star says the project is planned to offset an additional circa-3,548 t/y of CO2.

Ora Banda benefits from Aggreko virtual LNG pipeline at Davyhurst gold mine

In what is a world-first for global energy provider Aggreko, the company has introduced its latest high efficiency gas engines at Ora Banda Mining’s Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia.

The power station, which uses a virtual pipeline of gas trucked over 650 km, is expected to slash the mine’s carbon emissions by 25,000 t during the next five years, Aggreko says.

A virtual gas pipeline is a substitute for a physical pipeline whereby gas that would typically be conveyed through a conventional gas pipeline is instead transported as liquified natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas to the point of use by sea, road, rail or through a combination of one or more of these transport modes.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, said the LNG station project at Davyhurst was another step in the company’s mission to help miners’ get closer to their net zero emission targets.

“The Davyhurst gas power station is a great example of how a mine which previously operated on diesel wanted to operate on cleaner fuel and we were able to switch from diesel to gas,” Whyte said.

“Creating a virtual pipeline application is a way to switch from diesel to a cleaner fuel source and reduce carbon immediately without requiring any capital outlay or a physical gas pipeline.

“The result at Davyhurst is a gas power station comprising five LNG-generating sets and two diesel generating sets for a combined modular power output of 8.2 MW. Aggreko’s gas-fired power station will enable Ora Banda Mining to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation.”

He added: “This project demonstrates great innovation, uses a virtual gas pipeline and is a world-first for us using the high-speed reciprocating gas engines in our power generators. The power station is highly efficient, scalable and very suitable for transient loads and for the introduction of solar at a later stage.”

Whyte said Aggreko’s contract to supply the mine with power saved the junior miner on large capital expenditure and allowed miners to focus on their core skill of mining.

“Of appeal to miners is being able to take on flexible contracts with no capital outlay,” he said. “In addition, Aggreko upscales the technology, and the level of power is scalable so it can evolve with the mine.

“At Aggreko, we will reduce the amount of fossil diesel fuel used in customer solutions by at least 50% by 2030 and become a net-zero business across all services we provide by 2050. We are continuing to innovate and work with miners to reduce carbon by providing them with cleaner, scalable and modular energy as they work toward their net-zero targets.”

Ora Branda Mining Managing Director, David Quinlivan, said mining operations started on its large land holding in Western Australia in 2019 and reprocessing started again in January 2021.

“As part of the capital works program, we needed to re-establish a power station at Davyhurst and we worked with Aggreko and EVOL LNG to build a natural gas-powered station to power all of the site,” Quinlivan said.

“Initially, power was supplied to the site via an overhead line from Kalgoorlie. It is now trucked 650 km to site where it is used to power the gas generators. The power station developed for the site now supplies power to the processing plant, to the administration complex, our exploration and core processing facilities, the main mine accommodation plant, and out to the underground mining offices. It also powers our primary communications facilities.

“Working with Aggreko has resulted in a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for our company.”

CrossBoundary wind, solar, battery solution set for Rio QMM ilmenite operation

Rio Tinto has signed a power purchasing agreement for a new renewable energy plant to power the operations of its QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar.

This project, which uses solar and wind energy, will significantly contribute towards Rio Tinto’s operations in Madagascar achieving its carbon neutral objective by 2023, it said. It is part of a broader initiative to reduce the ilmenite mine’s environmental footprint which includes programs that focus on emissions reduction, waste and water management, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and reforestation.

QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (80%) and the government of Madagascar (20%).

The renewable energy plant, to be built, owned and operated by independent power producer, CrossBoundary Energy, over a 20-year period, will consist of an 8 MW solar facility and a 12 MW wind energy facility to power mining and processing operations. There will also be a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MW as reserve capacity to ensure a stable and reliable network.

It will supply all of QMM’s electricity demand during peak generation times, and up to 60% of the operations’ annual electricity consumption, according to Rio. QMM is to replace the majority of the power it currently supplies to the town of Fort Dauphin and the community of around 80,000 people with renewables, the company added.

The renewable energy plant will comprise more than 18,000 solar panels and up to nine wind turbines located in the Port Ehoala Park area. Construction is expected to begin this year with the solar plant scheduled to start operations at the beginning 2022. The wind power plant is planned to commence construction in early 2022 and become operational by the end of 2022.

QMM President, Ny Fanja Rakotomalala, said: “On a sunny and windy day, all the electricity needed by QMM and the Fort Dauphin community will be generated by the Malagasy sun and wind. It is a major step forward on our journey towards a truly sustainable mine, that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity.”

Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive, Sinead Kaufman, said: “With this flagship project, QMM is leading the way at Rio Tinto and in Madagascar in utilising renewable energy to power mining operations and reduce carbon emissions.”

CrossBoundary Energy Co-founder and Managing Partner, Matt Tilleard, added: “Emissions from electricity use in mining is estimated to account for around 1% of all greenhouse gases globally. Rio Tinto is leading the way in demonstrating how mines can seize a huge opportunity to reduce these emissions. We are focused on delivering cleaner power to businesses and were, therefore, able to offer Rio Tinto a flexible, fast, all-equity funding approach, combined with our reliable track record as one of Africa’s largest distributed renewable utilities.”

QMM is near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region of south-eastern Madagascar, and primarily produces ilmenite, in addition to zirsill and monazite. It includes the deep-water Port d’Ehoala, where the raw material is shipped to the Rio Tinto Fer et Titane plant in Canada and processed into titanium dioxide.

Australian government backs mining and metal sector decarbonising initiative

A new Cooperative Research Centre focused on integrating green energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and solar into high-heat and high-emission manufacturing processes for products like steel, aluminium and cement has won Australia government backing.

The Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), to be led by the University of Adelaide, has been provided with A$39 million ($29 million) of funding through the CRC Grants program. It is also backed by an additional A$175.7 million in funding and in-kind support from research and industry partners such as Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminium, South32, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group, the Australian National University and the CSIRO.

South Australia Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said the CRC would help to secure the future of heavy industries right across the country by helping them to lower costs and establish a reputation as exporters of high-quality, low-carbon, value-added products.

“In order to remain internationally competitive, it is crucial that our heavy industries begin the transition to lower cost and cleaner energy technology to secure the long-term future of their operations,” Minister Porter said. “By connecting those industries with our best and brightest minds from within our major research institutions – coupled with the significant funding that’s now available to fast-track this work – we expect real-world solutions can be delivered within the 10-year life of the CRC.”

Dr David Cochrane, who is Technology Lead at core CRC partner South32 and also an industry leader of the HILT CRC, said: “The HILT CRC will play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon future by creating a framework for industry to collaborate, sharing knowledge and experience while lowering the risk of trialling technology.

“For South32, we have recently set medium-term targets to halve our operational emissions by 2035 as we transition to net zero by 2050 and initiatives like the HILT CRC are part of our plan to achieve these targets.”

Susan Jeanes, who is Chair-elect of the HILT CRC, said: “Decarbonising Australia’s heavy industry will position it to be competitive in the rapidly developing, global low carbon markets for green iron and aluminium products that have higher value than our current exports. These new markets are being driven by our trading partners in countries like China, Japan and Europe, which are introducing a range of financial measures to meet their carbon targets, such as EU’s Carbon Border Tax.

“Our mineral resources geographically co-exist around the continent with our first-class renewable energy resources making decarbonising more competitive here than in other parts of the world.”

OZ Minerals wades into uncharted renewables territory at West Musgrave

You do not get much more remote than OZ Minerals’ West Musgrave copper-nickel project. Located in the Ngaanyatjarra Aboriginal Lands of central Western Australia, it is some 1,300 km northeast of Perth and 1,400 km northwest of Adelaide; near the intersection of the borders between Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The nearest towns include the Indigenous Communities of Jameson (Mantamaru), 26 km north; Blackstone (Papulankutja), 50 km east; and Warburton (Milyirrtjarra), 110 km west.

This makes the company’s ambition of developing a mine able to produce circa-32,000 t/y of copper and around 26,000 t/y of nickel in concentrates that leverages 100% renewable generation and can conduct ‘zero carbon mining’ even bolder.

OZ Minerals is not taking this challenge on by itself. In addition to multiple consultants and engineering companies engaged in a feasibility study, the company has enlisted the help of ENGIE Impact, the consulting arm of multinational electric utility company ENGIE, to come up with a roadmap that could see it employ renewable technologies to reach its zero ambitions.

“We’re providing an understanding of how they could decarbonise the mine to achieve a net zero end game,” Joshua Martin, Senior Director, Sustainability Solutions APAC, told IM.

While ENGIE Impact is focused solely on the energy requirements side of the equation at West Musgrave, its input will prove crucial to the ultimate sustainability success at West Musgrave.

Having worked with others in the mining space such as Vale’s New Caledonia operations (recently sold to the Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium), Martin says OZ Minerals is being “pretty ambitious” when it comes to decarbonisation.

“Our job is to assess if the renewable base case stacks up for West Musgrave, create multiple decarbonisation pathways for their consideration and look at what technology should be adopted to achieve their overall aims,” he said.

This latter element is particularly important for an off-grid project like West Musgrave, which is unlikely to start producing until around mid-2025 should a positive investment decision follow the upcoming feasibility study.

While solar, wind and battery back-up are all likely to play a role in the power plans at West Musgrave – technologies that are frequently factored into hybrid projects looking to wean themselves off diesel or heavy fuel oil use – more emerging technologies are likely to be factored into a roadmap towards 100% renewable adoption.

“We are developing a series of roadmaps that factor in where we think technologies will be in the future,” Martin said. “These roadmaps come with a series of decision gates where the company will need to take one option at that point in time if they are to pursue that particular decarbonisation pathway.”

These roadmaps utilise ENGIE Impact’s consulting and engineering nous, as well as the consultancy’s PROSUMER software (screenshot below) that is used on any asset-level decarbonisation project roadmap, according to Martin.

“This software was specifically built for that purpose,” Martin said. “There is nothing on the market like this.”

Progress at PFS level

OZ Minerals’ December 2020 prefeasibility study update went some way to mapping out its decarbonisation ambition for West Musgrave, with a 50 MW Power Purchase Agreement that involved hybrid renewables (wind, solar, battery, plus diesel or gas).

The company said in this study: “Modelling has demonstrated that circa 70-80% renewables penetration can be achieved for the site, with the current modelled to be an optimised mix of wind, solar and diesel supported by a battery installation.”

OZ Minerals said there was considerable upside in power cost through matching plant power demand with the availability of renewable supply (load scheduling), haulage electrification to maximise the proportion of renewable energy used, and the continued improvement in the efficiency of renewable energy solutions.

ENGIE Impact’s view on hydrogen and electric haulage in the pit may be considered here, complemented by the preliminary results coming out of the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaborative mine electrification project OZ Minerals is taking part in with other miners such as Evolution Mining, South32, Gold Fields and IGO. And, on the non-electric pathway, ENGIE Impact’s opinion is being informed by a study it is undertaking in collaboration with Anglo American on developing a “hydrogen valley” in South Africa.

If OZ Minerals’ early technology views are anything to go by, it is willing to take some risk when it comes to adopting new technology.

The preliminary flowsheet in the prefeasibility study factored in a significant reduction in carbon emissions and power demand through the adoption of vertical roller mills (VRMs) as the grinding mill solution, and a flotation component that achieves metal recovery at a much coarser grind size than was previously considered in the design.

Loesche is working with OZ Minerals on the VRM side, and Woodgrove’s Direct Flotation Reactors got a shout out in the process flowsheet.

While mining at West Musgrave is modelled to be conventional drill, blast, load and haul, the haulage fleet will comprise up to 25, 220 t haul trucks, with optionality being maintained to allow for these trucks to be fully autonomous in the future, OZ Minerals said.

‘True’ zero miners

OZ Minerals is aware of the statement it would make to industry if it were to power all this technology from renewable sources.

“With a future focus on developing a roadmap to 100% renewable generation, and reducing dependency upon fossil fuels over time, West Musgrave will become one of the largest fully off-grid, renewable powered mines in the world,” it said in the updated PFS. “The solution would result in the avoidance of in excess of 220,000 tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide emissions compared to a fully diesel-powered operation.”

The company’s Hybrid Energy Plant at Carrapateena in South Australia, whose initial setup includes solar PV, battery storage, diesel generation and a micro-grid controller, will provide a test case for this. This is a “unique facility designed to host experiments on how various equipment and energy technologies interact on an operating mine site”, the company says.

Martin and ENGIE Impact agree OZ Minerals is one of many forward-thinking mining companies striving for zero operations with a serious decarbonisation plan.

“The mining projects we are working on are all looking to achieve ‘true’ net zero operations, factoring in no offsets,” he said. “Having said that, I wouldn’t say the use of offsets is an ‘easy out’ for these companies. They can form part of the decarbonisation equation when they have a specific purpose, for instance, in trying to support indigenous communities.”

These industry leaders would do well to communicate with each other on their renewable ambitions, according to Martin. Such collaboration can help them all achieve their goals collectively, as opposed to individually. The coming together of BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale, Roy Hill, Teck, Boliden and Thiess for the ‘Charge on Innovation Challenge’ is a good example of this, where the patrons are pooling resources to come up with workable solutions for faster charging of large surface electric mining trucks.

“In the Pilbara, for example, there is a real opportunity to create a decarbonisation masterplan that seeks to capitalise on economies of scale,” he said. “If all the companies work towards that end goal collaboratively, they could achieve it much faster and at a much lower cost than if they go it alone.”

When it comes to OZ Minerals, the miner is clearly open to collaboration, whether it be with ENGIE Impact on decarbonisation, The Electric Mine Consortium with its fellow miners, the recently opened Hybrid Energy Plant at Carrapateena, the EU-funded NEXGEN SIMS project to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes, or through its various crowd sourcing challenges.

Orezone ties up LNG and solar power options for Bomboré gold project

Orezone Gold Corp’s Bomboré gold project is to become the first mine in Burkina Faso to use LNG to power its operations after the Vancouver-based company signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Genser Energy Burkina SA for the supply of “clean energy electrical power” to the project.

Under the PPA, Genser will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its main fuel, augmented with a staged solar plant, Orezone said. A fixed rate energy tariff will apply over the life of mine oxide operation with a fixed rate tariff to be negotiated for the additional energy demand upon commissioning of the sulphide processing circuit expected in Year three of commercial production.

The power plant will consist of 6 2.5 MW LNG generators with four 2.6 MW diesel back-up units. This configuration is sized for the initial oxide operation and the planned sulphide expansion, the company explained. At the same time, a solar photovoltaic plant, up to 14 MWp, is to be installed in stages with an 11 kV powerline to connect the gas and backup diesel generators, and solar plant.

Genser is to design, permit, finance and install all power generating equipment and associated infrastructure including LNG storage and diesel storage terminals. It will also be the operator and owner of the power plant facility.

Patrick Downey, President & CEO of Orezone, said: “We are extremely excited to be the first mine in Burkina Faso to use a LNG and solar hybrid power supply. Besides being an excellent cost-effective choice for Bomboré, we also see this new power solution as being a very positive step for the Burkina Faso mining and electricity generating sectors. LNG power systems, coupled with solar, will enable energy intensive industries such as mining to reduce fuel consumption, decrease energy costs, and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “This life of mine fixed cost agreement for clean energy from Genser provides power cost certainty over life of mine oxide production at Bomboré and provides an excellent platform for project expansion and growth.”

The Honourable Dr Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, The Minister of Mines and Energy for Burkina Faso, said: “Having the first LNG plant at a mining operation is a great step forward for the industry and we congratulate Orezone in this regard. As a government, we continue to support clean energy alternatives that provides a platform for sustainable growth and benefits our communities.”

Alongside the announcement of the PPA, Orezone said that significant progress had been made at Bomboré during the first two quarters of the year. Engineering is now approximately 30% complete and on schedule, with design and bulk quantities from this work trending favourably against the quantity estimates used in the 2019 feasibility study.

Procurement is well advanced with firm orders placed for most mechanical and electrical equipment with purchase costs generally below budget estimates, it added.

In January, the company appointed Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd as the project’s EPCM contractor, while, in February, Sila Equipement ET BTP SA was named as its open-pit mining contractor.

Meanwhile, bulk materials including concrete reinforcing bar and embeds, CIL tank platework, structural steel and platework, HDPE liner, and overland piping have also been ordered with costs also trending within budget, Orezone said.

Off-channel reservoir mining, earthworks for the plant site area and tailings storage facility are rapidly advancing, and the award of the contracts for concrete installation and CIL tank erection and overland piping are imminent, it added.

Orezone’s 2019 feasibility study on Bomboré envisaged a 5.2 Mt/y throughput operation able to produce, on average, 117,760 oz of gold over a 13-year mine life where both oxide and sulphides would be mined and processed. The project remains on track for first gold pour in the September quarter of 2022.