DeGrussa mine turns to solar power in $40 million project

Sandfire Resources has signed an agreement with juwi which will see the construction of a 10.6MW solar power station at its DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia.

The $40 million project will involve the construction of the largest integrated off-grid solar array in Australia.

The power station will utilise a 10.6MW solar array compromising 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels that track the sun and a 6MW battery. It will be constructed on 20 hectares of land near there site of the current underground mine and 1.5Mtpa concentrator.

The solar power station will be fully integrated with the existing 20MW diesel-powered power station at DeGrussa which is owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Power Systems.

The project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at DeGrussa mine by an estimated 12,000 tonnes per year.

Sandfire’s managing director Karl Simich said the company had been working on the solar power initiative since 2013.

“The scale of this project will be an Australian and world first- a unique combination of an off-grid, high capacity solar power array which will be fully integrated with an existing diesel power station,” Simich said.

“It is a very manageable project which, importantly, will not impact on the efficiency or safety of existing operations, while allowing Sandfire to make a solid contribution to the broader challenge of reducing C02 emissions and potentially reducing our operating costs in the long run.”

The juwi group is one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies specialising in the engineering, procurement and construction of utility-scale projects.

Managing director of juwi Andrew Drager said the company looked forward to working with Sandfire.

“The system is at the forefront of transforming the remote power generation sector and the resource industry into one with a sustainable future,” Drager said.

“The solar PV system will provide the majority of daytime electricity to substantially reduce the mine’s dependence on imported diesel.”


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