BHP to power two Australian mines with solar power and battery storage

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The mining company is attempting to reduce emissions from its operations through the use of solar power. Image: Pixabay

Anglo-Australian mining company BHP, in partnership with Canada’s TransAlta Renewables, is to build two solar farms and a battery storage system to help power its Mt Keith and Leinster nickel mines in Western Australia.

The Canadian independent power producer (IPP) said yesterday that its energy subsidiary Southern Cross will build, own and operate a 27.4MW project in Mount Keith and a 10.7MW farm in Leinster as well as a 10.1MW/5.4MWh battery storage facility as part of the Northern Goldfields project.

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BHP said the farms will help it reduce emissions from electricity at the mines by 12%, based on 2020 levels, displacing power currently supplied by diesel and gas turbine generation.

BHP signed a power purchase agreement with TransAlta in October 2020 and construction will start in Q2 2022. It is expected to take 12-14 months at a cost of AU$73 million (US$54 million).

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will further improve our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world,” said BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel.

The Northern Goldfields project is subject to final WA state government approvals.

BHP was one of seven companies this month to have been shortlisted for funding from an AU$70 million pot to help green hydrogen projects in Australia by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

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