Canadian gold producer IamGold has announced that it will build a 5MW solar power plant at its Rosebel Gold Mine in Suriname, South America. The solar project will reduce electricity consumption at the mine and free up some of the country’s existing electricity generation capacity for other users.
IamGold and its Rosebel Gold Mine, which is registered as a subsidiary company, originally negotiated reduced rates for electricity costs with the government of Suriname for the mine’s early years of operation. One of six gold mines owned by IamGold, with the Surinamese government holding a 5% stake, Rosebel Gold Mine went into commercial production in 2004. The construction of the PV plant fulfils the terms of the agreement for the discounted cost of electricity. The mine will manage and operate the PV plant.
The solar power plant is expected to cost between US$12 million and US$14 million to build, including clearing access to the site and other preparatory work. It is expected to be operational by the beginning of the third quarter of 2014.
IamGold has stated that in order to increase understanding of solar power in Suriname, it will share technical information on the project with the country’s government and Anton de Kom University of Suriname.
Steve Letwin, president and chief executive officer of IamGold said: “As Rosebel transitions from mining soft rock to harder rock deposits we need an increased amount of power to crush and grind the ore to facilitate the gold extraction. We have successfully negotiated reductions in the cost of power at Rosebel and this solar project further improves the cost and supply of power to meet our needs. Adapting such technologies to our business is exactly the type of innovation this industry requires to succeed in the future.”
According to some analysts, South American countries that have high solar irradiance levels coupled with limited or unreliable grid infrastructure, partnerships between mining companies and governments could be useful to facilitate long-term development in areas including energy.