Miners increasingly opting for solar power

SANDFIRE Resources last night received the Western Australian government’s Golden Gecko award for environmental excellence for its DeGrussa solar plant.
Miners increasingly opting for solar power Miners increasingly opting for solar power Miners increasingly opting for solar power Miners increasingly opting for solar power Miners increasingly opting for solar power

WA mines minister Bill Johnston (left) presents Sandfire chief commercial officer Robert Klug with the Golden Gecko award

Staff reporter

More than 34,000 solar photovoltaic panels were installed at the project in 2016.

The solar panels generate 17-20% of power required at the copper-gold mine and have helped Sandfire reduce its carbon emissions by 30,789 tonnes since 2016.

Sandfire managing director Karl Simich said the company was delighted to have received one of the mining industry's most prestigious environmental awards for its ground-breaking DeGrussa solar project. 

"This is a wonderful result for our team which recognises the pioneering role played by this project in leading the way for the safe and efficient introduction of renewable energy to the mining industry," he said. 

"The DeGrussa solar project - which is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia and, and at the time of construction, the world - has received significant international interest since it started operations in 2016, and has been a genuine trailblazer for the industry. 

 "The project has provided an important blueprint for mining companies seeking to enhance their environmental performance, providing a template for the integration of renewable energy along with invaluable data on the environmental outcomes that can be achieved.

"This Australian-first project has shown that it is possible to introduce hybrid renewable energy projects at operating mining projects, creating a pathway for the industry to embrace these sorts of renewable energy technologies, diversify their energy mix and reduce their carbon footprint."

Meanwhile, Independence Group last year commissioned Zenith Energy to build the first fully integrated commercial hybrid diesel/solar photovoltaic facility in Australia.

The first panels are being installed for completion later this year.

 he solar facility under construction at ova The solar facility under construction at Nova

"Another example of IGO's strategic transformation to align with clean energy and the global shift to more environmentally friendly innovations in mining including renewable energy, battery and clean energy storage technology," IGO MD Peter Bradford said.

"IGO's purpose is making a difference and our aspiration is to grow as a globally relevant, premium producer of energy storage and distribution minerals.

"That means for us, walking the talk on how we implement more sustainable mining practices at Nova and use innovative technologies within our business to demonstrate our commitment to making a difference for future generations."

Gold Fields is building a solar plant at its Granny Smith operation, and is investing more than A$100 million in an industry first gas/solar/wind energy power solution at Agnew.