Mining company OZ Minerals will use photovoltaic solar photovoltaic, wind and battery power to help supply its Carrapeteena Copper-Gold Mine, located north of Port Augusta, as part of a significant shift in the mining industry in the use of clean energy technologies . for remote mining operations.
OZ Minerals will partner with SunSHIFT to deploy a pilot scale hybrid power system that includes 250kW of solar photovoltaic capacity, a 10kW wind generator and a 250kW lithium-ion battery storage system.
As part of the project, light vehicle electric vehicle loading facilities used at the mine site will also be incorporated into the renewable energy and storage solution. A traditional diesel generating unit will also be included to supplement the power supply to the site.
The South Australian government has welcomed the announcement and hopes the project will serve as a model for future remote mining projects to integrate renewable energy and storage to complement the diesel-powered generation.
"Reliable, low-cost energy is vital to the mining industry and this power plant will help pave the way for a cheaper and cleaner energy future," said SA Energy Minister van Holst Pellekaan.
"The remote location of the mines generally means that they operate completely off the grid and are heavily dependent on diesel powered generators."
"The OZ Minerals power plant will demonstrate the commercial value of a photovoltaic and photovoltaic photovoltaic asset at a remote mine, thereby increasing the viability of the mines in the development phase."
The South Australian government raised $ 1 million in grants to support the project. OZ Minerals sees this as an opportunity to save on the costs associated with the energy used in its mining facilities, and to reduce the environmental footprint of the traditionally diesel-powered operations.
Carrapeteena Copper-Gold Mine will be one of the largest copper projects in Australia and will have the capacity to produce up to 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold per year during the projected 20-year life of the mine.
"To do this in a sustainable way, we need to develop solutions that allow us to integrate more renewable energy generation into the mines, ensuring that we can manage our demand," said Andrew Cole, CEO of OZ Minerals.
As part of the project, OZ Minerals is seeking partnerships with industries, research institutions, universities, government, startups, business incubators and nongovernmental entities to test, pilot and pilot new technologies on the Carrapateena website.
"Our vision is to build the first internationally recognized collaboration center for activities related to renewable energy and demand management in a mine," Cole said.
SunSHIFT estimates that a total of 250MW of electricity is consumed in all out-of-network or offshore mining operations in southern Australia. The company hopes to explore this market and open an office in South Australia.
The addition of ground-mounted solar power systems has become an increasingly attractive option for remote mining sites. Mining operations depend on transporting diesel to energy sites, which have become increasingly expensive. Solar power plants are able to supplement diesel generation, delivering energy to locations throughout the day, reducing fuel demand.
SunSHIFT recently completed an ARENA-supported demonstration project for the development of a fast reuse energy solution for mining sites in partnership with its parent company, Laing O & # 39; Rourke. Solar power systems can be deployed in accelerated time frames and then re-deployed as demand between sites changes.
Similar projects have been announced across Australia, including recent projects at the New Zealand nickel plant in Western Australia, another SunSHIFT-led project at the Cannington silver-lead mine in north-western Queensland and Alinta's plans to strengthen the operations of Fortescue Metals in Pilbara. region of Western Australia.
The announcement of OZ Mineral's plan to install solar and on-site storage at Carrapeteena follows a similar announcement by the company to install a similar system at its Prominent Hill mine in southern Australia.
Construction is expected to begin in July, with the project expected to be completed in January 2020.