W.A.-based mining company Mineral Resources is installing a 3.288MWh battery at the Mt Marion lithium mine to eliminate the need for so-called “spinning reserve” that acts as back-up for its on-site gas generators.
The company expects to complete the installation of the ABB battery, using Samsung battery cells, in February.
The Mt Marion mine – said to have one of the biggest lithium reserves in the world – is located south-west of Kalgoorlie, and is jointly owned by Mineral Resources, Neometals and one of China’s largest lithium producer, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium.
Like the bigger battery that has operated at the Newman gas generator in the Pilbara, it is expected to deliver a quick pay-back on the investment.
Mining and other operators now find that using batteries significantly reduce the amount of fuel that is consumed by the need to have generators “spinning” on stand-by in case one of the large generators trips or a large load demand is requested.
Mineral Resources says it expects the battery at Mt Marion will help reduce emissions by around 1,504 tonnes a year due to the reduced burn of liquefied natural gas that needs to be trucked in for the 11MW gas plant.
Mineral Resources, which has also installed solar at its Perth headquarters, says it is looking at ways to use more batteries, more solar, and even hydrogen to reduce its dependence on LNG, which for the most part needs to be trucked in to remote sites at tremendous cost.
The company would not say how quick the pay-back would be on the battery, but said it was a “commercial” proposition.
Mineral Resources expects the battery will be discharging and recharging continually as it supplies power to the plant during spikes in the load demand as drives start up.
“It provides us power security should one of the online generators should trip, allowing enough time to bring a spare generator online, thus suppling a secure source of generating power,” a spokesperson said.
The Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) is rated at 2MW for 15 minutes for a full discharge.