South32 has extended Energy Developments’ electricity supply contract at the Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine in North Queensland by 14 years to 2032.
As part of the contract extension, electricity from a new 3MW solar photovoltaic (PV) facility will be integrated with Energy Developments’ 40MW power station at the mine.
The solar PV facility, as reported by Australian Mining this week, will be the second largest installed at a remote mine site in Australia and the first in the country to be integrated with a gas-fired power station.
At six hectares, the facility will cover an area equivalent to six football fields. It is expected to fully operational in the third quarter of 2018.
The facility will be largely pre-fabricated to facilitate rapid construction and ease of expansion, according to Energy Developments.
James Harman, Energy Developments chief executive officer, commented: “We have been providing electricity at Cannington since the mine commenced production in 1997 and this extension to 2032 will deliver long-term financial, operational and environmental benefits to both companies.”
The solar PV facility will be built and owned by SunSHIFT, which has created the world’s first pre-fabricated, modular and moveable solar plant for large-scale on-grid and off-grid electricity generation.
SunSHIFT general manager Will Rayward-Smith said the company commercialised large-scale, modular and moveable solar PV technology to provide the mining sector with access to low-cost renewable energy.
“We encourage miners to take a low-risk path to hybridisation with a low-penetration solar PV installation and, over time, consider expanding capacity and introducing energy storage,” Rayward-Smith said.
Energy Developments recently completed the development of a landmark hybrid solar, wind, battery and diesel project in the outback South Australian town of Coober Pedy.
The project, commissioned last July, had demonstrated its capability to supply 100 per cent of the town’s electricity demand from renewables by September.
To date the longest continuous period utilising 100 per cent renewable energy has been 42 hours. Over the 20-year life of the project it is expected that at least 70 per cent of Coober Pedy’s electricity consumption will be provided through renewable sources.