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Magazine feature: Mining companies investing in clean energy to green up their act

The heightened expectation – societally and legislatively – for industries to use environmentally friendly energy sources has meant that mines have had to rethink the way in which they provide power to run their operations. Here we feature some of the mining operations across Africa that have, are or intend to embark on this journey.

ZAMBIA

First Quantum Minerals (FQM), the Canadian mining company that operates Africa’s biggest copper mine by production in Zambia, entered into a partnership with Chariot and Total Eren to develop 430MW of solar and wind power for its mining operations in Zambia.

The $500-million project will consist of a 230MWp solar PV plant and a 200MW wind farm. FQM’s Kansanshi mine, located near Solwezi in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, is one of the largest copper mines in the world.

Kansanshi copper-gold mine located near Solwezi in Zambia. Source: FQM

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

In October 2023, Barrick Gold Corporation announced a 16MW solar farm with a battery energy storage system to augment Kibali gold mine’s hydropower supply during the dry season. Once completed, the mine will run entirely on renewable energy for six months of the year reducing the mine’s GHG by 19.7kt CO2e annually.

The Kibali Mine comprises open-pit and underground mining operations. Source: Barrick

EGYPT

In April 2023, the Egyptian government inaugurated a 36MW solar power station at the Sukari gold mine in addition to a battery storage system with a capacity of 7.5MW to supply the facility with electricity. The project is expected to help reduce costs and enhance production sustainability.

The Sukari mine has contributed about $900 million to the Egyptian economy in profit share and royalties. Source: International Mining/X

MAURITANIA

Kinross Gold, a senior gold mining company, is constructing a 34MW solar power plant and a battery system of 18MW at its Tasiast operation in Mauritania. The project is part of Kinross’ efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The plant is expected to be integrated with Tasiast’s power generation suite and provide approximately 20% of the site’s power.

The Tasiast mine is an open-pit operation located in northwestern Mauritania, about 300 kilometres north of the capital Nouakchott. Source: Kinross Gold Corporation

NAMIBIA

In March 2023, Namibia’s oldest commercial uranium mine Rössing Uranium announced plans to construct a solar plant. Rössing Uranium has plans to construct a 15MW AC Solar PV Plant and called for bids from IPPs to supply it with 50,864MWh per annum from any renewable energy source. This comes as the company’s Board in February approved the Life of Mine Extension from 2026 to 2036 following the completion of the bankable feasibility study.

Source: Rössing Uranium

MADAGASCAR

NextSource Materials announced in October that it had achieved full operation of its solar and battery hybrid plant at the Molo graphite mine. The Solar Hybrid Plant is owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy under a 20-year PPA and comprises a 2.69MWp solar PV array combined with a 1.37MWh battery energy storage system and a 3.1MW thermal (diesel) generator plant. The entire array, incorporating 4,902 PV panels covering an area of 12,663m2, has been fully integrated with the storage system.

Molo graphite mine in Madagascar where the hybrid plant will be capable of supplying 100% of the processing plant’s power requirements during peak daylight hours. Source: NextSource

MALI

B2Gold is expanding its solar plant at the Fekola gold mine. Set for completion in 2024, the project will add 22MW of capacity to the 30MW of solar power already installed, making the combined installation – once completed – one of the largest at any African mine.

The Fekola Mine in southwest Mali, on the border between Mali and Senegal. Source: B2Gold

About the author

ESI Africa
Content Team
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