Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate, Rio Tinto, has signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) for the supply of clean renewable power to its QMM ilmenite mine in Southern Madagascar.
The power purchase agreement is a 20-year contract which will see CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) build, own and operate a hybrid renewable energy plant that consists of an 8MW solar park, and a 12MW wind farm, embedded to a lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) with up to 8.25MW storage capacity.
The renewable energy facility will meet up to 60% of the mine’s energy needs. Construction work on the solar project is expected to start this year with the plant scheduled to start operations at the beginning 2022.
Construction for the nine-turbine wind farm is expected to commence early next year and is scheduled to become operational by the end of 2022.
Solar and wind hybrid plant to help reduce Rio Tinto’s carbon emissions
Emissions from electricity use in mining is estimated to account for around 1% of all greenhouse gases globally. “Rio Tinto is leading the way in demonstrating how mines can seize a huge opportunity to reduce these emissions,” commented Matt Tilleard, CrossBoundary Energy’s Co-founder and Managing Partner.
QMM President Ny Fanja Rakotomalala said: “This project is a strong example of our commitment with the Government of Madagascar to the sustainable development of the region. On a sunny and windy day, all the electricity needed by QMM and the Fort Dauphin community will be generated by the Malagasy sun and wind.”
“It is a major step forward on our journey towards a truly sustainable mine that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity,” added Rakotomalala.
The project also aligns with Madagascar’s vision to diversify its energy mix and increase share of renewable energy in its energy system.