Australia is now powering an entire gold and copper mine with solar energy. The DeGrussa mine in Western Australia is powered by one of the largest off-grid solar and battery storage facilities in Australia. The photovoltaic cells are producing 7MW of electricity and will reach 10MW by the end of summer. The plant will serve as a test for the implementation of clean energy powering of other mines around the world.
According to Mining Weekly, the project cost the mine $40 million. The hefty price has bought the mine the latest in photovoltaic technology and saw 34,080 photovoltaic cells being delivered to the mine. The panels reportedly have a tracking system that follows the sun during the day.
The panels are hooked up to the storage units that stores up to 6MW of energy. This would eliminate some of the emissions that their diesel powered station produces. The official number given by Sandfire was that 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions would be eliminated which was a reduction of 15%. Additionally, five million litres of diesel will be saved per year.
"This project has already attracted a significant amount of interest from within the mining industry in Australia with Sandfire receiving inquiries from several of our peers interested in adopting this technology at their mine sites. I would not be surprised to see more facilities like this built over the next few years, as the benefits and potential of solar power become increasingly recognised across the resource sector," said Karl Simich, Managing director and CEO of Sandfire, the company that owns the DeGrussa mine.