Sandfire Resources NL has signed an agreement with juwi Renewable Energy Pty. to set up a 10.6-megawatt solar power station at its DeGrussa Copper Mine in Western Australia.
The A$40 million (US$31 million) project will be run as an off-grid project, will provide power to the copper mine. The solar power station will utilise a 10.6-MW solar array comprising 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels that track the sun and a 6MW battery. It will be constructed on 20 hectares of land near the site of the current underground mine and concentrator.
The funding for the project is being coordinated by juwi, which will own and operate the plant.
Financial closure is expected by May this year, with the project expected to be completed by December. Sandfire’s cash contribution to the project will be less than A$1 million.
The solar power station will be fully integrated with the existing 20-MW diesel-fired power station at the mine, which is owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Power Systems. This integrated system will be designed to enable the diesel power station to continue to provide base-load power to the DeGrussa mine with sufficient minimum load to ensure it can respond quickly to meet the power requirements of the process plant and underground mine.
The project is expected to achieve savings in the consumption of diesel fuel and will deliver a significant environmental benefit for the DeGrussa Copper Mine, reducing its CO2 emissions by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year.