February 17 (Renewables Now) - Rio Tinto Plc (LON:RIO) plans to spend AUD 98 million (USD 65.9m/EUR 60.8m) to install a 34-MW solar park and a battery storage system to support its mining operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The Anglo-Australian mining group said on Sunday the proposed photovoltaic (PV) park will be built at the site of its new Koodaideri mine, with its output expected to cover around 65% of the mine’s average electricity consumption. During peak generation periods, meanwhile, it will be able to supply the iron ore mine's entire power demand.
Covering an area of 105 ha, the PV plant will use about 100,000 panels that will form Rio Tinto’s first company-owned solar plant. The miner is still awaiting government approvals for the project and expects to launch construction later this year, targeting commissioning in 2021.
Additionally, Rio Tinto envisages the construction of a 12-MWh energy storage facility in the town of Tom Price that will provide spinning reserve and ensure a stable supply of its regional power network. Together with the solar plant, the lithium-ion battery system is expected to help offset around 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission annually.
The construction of the AUD-2.6-billion Koodaideri mine is in progress and production from it is expected to begin by end-2021. The mine’s production capacity is seen at 43 million tonnes annually.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.672/EUR 0.620)