Australian miner taps solar gold with "world's biggest" off-grid hybrid power plant

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ASX-listed resources company Resolute Mining has announced plans to build what it says will be the world’s largest off-grid, hybrid solar power plant for a stand-alone mining operation, at its Syama Gold Mine in Mali, Africa.
The company will develop the 40MW facility in partnership with local financier and developer, Ignite Energy, to replace the existing 28MW diesel-fired power station at the mine.
Resolute said it had chosen the combination of solar, battery storage and heavy fuel oil after a “comprehensive global evaluation process” seeking the cheapest low-carbon power solution for Syama.
The new plant is expected to generate savings of up to 40 per cent on the current operating costs of the mine, while reducing its reliance on, and exposure to, diesel prices.
Right now, Resolute says it costs between $200 and $250/MWh for diesel, depending on market prices, so the suggested reduction of 40 per cent translates into a solar hybrid cost of between $130 and $150/MWh.
The project will be funded and constructed under an Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, which will see Ignite Energy build, own and operate the off-grid plant, and supply power to Resolute via a power purchase agreement spanning between 12 and 20 years.
“The scale of this project will be a world first – a unique combination of solar, battery, and HFO storage and generation capacity which will provide Syama with long-term low-cost electricity with minimal capital requirements,” said managing director and CEO John Welborn in comments on Monday.
“The (Syama) project is entirely consistent with our ongoing efforts to use innovation and technology to optimise and enhance our …operations and deliver exceptional outcomes for our shareholders,” he said.
“The Syama Solar Hybrid Power Plant will deliver long term electricity cost savings of up to 40 per cent at Syama while reducing carbon emissions and providing tangible benefits to local Mali communities.”
The new power facility – which is expected to by up and running by 2020 – will also provide significant environmental benefits including lower carbon emissions and the greater efficiencies of integrated battery storage hybrid technology and improved engine technologies, the company said.

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