Rio Tinto buys solar, wind power for mine in Madagascar

Source: Twitter, @Vestas

July 26 (Renewables Now) - Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto Plc (LON:RIO) will source both solar and wind energy for its ilmenite mine in Southern Madagascar under a newly-signed power purchase agreement (PPA).

The 20-year contract is with CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), which will build, own and operate a hybrid plant that consists of an 8-MW solar park and a 12-MW wind farm tied to a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MW.

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Construction work on the solar project is seen to begin this year and be concluded in early 2022. The nine-turbine wind farm, in turn, will enter the building works phase early next year and become operational by the end of 2022.

The combined installation will supply 100% of the mine’s power during peak generation times and will meet up to 60% of the operations’ annual electricity needs.

The mine is owned by QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), a joint venture in which Rio Tinto holds an 80% stake and the government of Madagascar has the remaining 20%. The site is located near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region. The ilmenite it produces is a source of titanium dioxide, predominantly used as a white pigment in paints and paper.

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