THE installation of a A$112m solar PV facility at Gold Fields’ Agnew mine in Australia was described by the Johannesburg-listed gold producer as “a milestone event”.
“This is a significant milestone for both the Agnew gold mine and the broader Gold Fields group, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to strengthening our energy security, optimising energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint through the adoption of new technologies,” said Stuart Mathews, executive vice-president for Gold Fields Australasia.
“We are hopeful that this will also enable other companies to consider the options for decarbonising their operations,” he said.
The facility, which was constructed in joint venture with EDL, an energy producer, is worth 4MW in solar power supply and is underpinned with 19MW worth of gas and diesel generation for total capacity of 23MW – described by Gold Fields as “… the first stage of one of Australia’s largest hybrid renewable microgrid projects”.
“It will soon include other renewable energy technologies coming online in the next stage of the project,” said EDL CEO, James Harman, in a statement. “With this project, EDL and Gold Fields are leading the way towards clean, renewable energy to power remote, off-grid mining operations without compromising reliability or power quality,” he said.
The second stage of the project, which includes 18MW wind generation, a 13MW battery and an advanced micro-grid control system, is currently under construction and due to be completed in mid-2020, said Gold Fields.
It has the backing of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) with a recoupable A$13.5m contribution to the construction cost of the project.
Once completed, the Agnew Hybrid Renewable Project will be the first to utilise wind generation as part of a large hybrid microgrid in the Australian mining sector. It will have a total installed generation capacity of 54MW, with renewables providing over 50% of Agnew gold mine’s power requirements, said Gold Fields.