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Richard Bay Minerals locks in renewable energy deal

Rio Tinto subsidiary Richard Bay Minerals (RBM) has signed a renewable power purchase agreement with Khangela Emoyeni Wind Farm in a bid slash its annual carbon emissions.

The 20-year agreement will see RBM secure 140 megawatts of wind energy from a new wind farm situated in the Western and Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

Once constructed, the Khangela Emoyeni Wind Farm is expected to produce around 460 gigawatt hours of renewable energy annually. With the help of a wheeling agreement with energy company Eskom, the Khangela Emoyeni Wind Farm will power RBM’s operations located in the northern KwaZulu-Natal province.

Renewable energy company EIMS Africa will be responsible for the Khangela Emoyeni project’s asset management and it’s expected to reach commercial operation within the next 28 months.

“As a world leading mineral sands operation, we are determined to find better ways to produce the materials the world needs and decarbonising our operations is one of them,” Rio Tinto managing director iron and titanium African operations Werner Duvenhage said.

“Rio Tinto has committed to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. The Khangela Emoyeni Wind Farm has the potential to reduce RBM’s annual carbon emissions by 20 per cent and reduce our existing reliance on traditional energy sources by 26 per cent.”

The agreement’s parties include African Clean Energy Developments (ACED), the IDEAS Fund managed by African Infrastructure Investment Managers, investment holding company Reatile Group, and Rand Merchant Bank.

“We are immensely proud to have achieved financial close and commenced construction on Khangela Emoyeni Wind Farm, with Rio Tinto’s Richards Bay Minerals,” ACED general manager James Cumming said.

“Not only will it provide RBM with clean energy for their operations, but it will also help alleviate South Africa’s power crisis.”

Rio Tinto owns 74 per cent of RBM, a company focused on heavy mineral sands extraction and refining.

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