Pilbara Minerals locks in Pilgangoora solar power

pilbara minerals

The Pilgangoora operation. Image: Pilbara Minerals

Pilbara Minerals has signed Contract Power to construct, operate and maintain a six-megawatt solar farm for 15 years at the Pilgangoora lithium mine in Western Australia.

Contract Power is a subsidiary of Pacific Energy Group, the latter forming in 2018 to begin work at Pilgangoora.

The solar farm will initially replace about 3.8 million litres of diesel fuel and 9900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.

There will be room, however, for an expansion of the solar capacity and the integration of battery storage for further cost and energy savings.

Pilbara Minerals said it had already seen the benefits of working with Contract Power and expected a similar level of expertise over the coming 15 years.

“Pilbara Minerals looks forward to continuing our working relationship with Contract Power and the broader Pacific Energy Group, which began in 2018 when the first baseload power station was installed at Pilgangoora,” the company stated.

The development comes in line with Pilbara Minerals’ goal of becoming a carbon neutral business before 2050.

Procurement will begin shortly with project commissioning expected by late July 2022 and full operation by late August.

Pilbara Minerals stated it would seek further power savings by connecting various plant and camp elements of the Pilgangoora operation.

“The installation of the first phase of the solar farm is just one part of the initial rationalisation of power assets at Pilgangoora, as we further integrate the Ngungaju operation,” the company stated.

“A local power network will be created to join the Ngungaju and Pilgan plants, and the Carlindi camp facilities thereby creating further efficiencies.”

These plants will need all the power they can get as Pilbara Minerals attempts to become a million tonne lithium concentrate producer.

The miner recently began commissioning the Ngungaju plant with ramp up to peak production imminent for 180,000 to 200,000 dry metric tonnes (dmt).

The Pilgan plant also received upgrades in October which will push its annual production to 360,000 to 380,000dmt.

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