JSE listed precious metals mining company, Sibanye Stillwater, has revealed bold plans to develop renewable energy capacity to power its mining operations. The diversified mining company is developing a 50 MW solar energy project to power the company’s gold mining operations. The project will be developed on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis and is expected to reach commercial operations by late 2023.
“A Request for Quotation (RFQ) tender is underway to appoint a project developer to finance, build, own, operate and later transfer the plant on a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) basis,” said Sibanye-Stillawter’s CEO Neal Froneman.
Sibanye also plans to develop an additional portfolio of solar energy projects with a combined capacity of 175MW to power its platinum group metals (PGMs) operations. The company conducted a feasibility study earlier this year which the company says “confirmed a strong business case for advancing solar PV projects.”
The solar developments will consist of three projects on suitable sites adjacent to the company’s PGM operations. The projects include an 80MW solar PV project at the Rustenburg operation, a 65MW solar project at the Marikana K4 operation and a 30MW solar project for our Marikana smelter and base metal refinery.
“The projects have been approved for execution and site permitting is now underway. The targeted date for commercial operation is early 2025, with the environmental impact assessment process driving the project schedule,” Sibanye says.
Sibanye to procure wind energy
The mining giant is also procuring wind energy capacity from independent power producers. The company issued a request for information (RFI) earlier this year for off-site generation of up to 250MW of wind energy.
“The RFI confirmed the commercial viability of remote wind energy wheeled across the Eskom transmission and distribution network and identified various ‘shovel-ready’ projects across South Africa,” says Sibanye.
The company is in the process of issuing an RFQ tender for up to 250MW of wind energy to be developed on a 15-year build, own, operate and transfer PPA basis. The targeted date for commercial operation is anticipated towards the end of 2024.
The planned renewable energy projects will be subject to separate approvals from several Governmental authorities, including the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and Eskom.
Sibanye is hoping to be energy self-sufficient by 2038 and targets to be carbon neutral by 2040. The renewable energy plants will enable a 24% reduction in energy consumption for the Group by 2025 and also help the company to reduce its carbon emissions.