Nevada gold mining operation turns to 200MW PV project to decarbonise

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The mining industry is grappling with how to decarbonise, with many sites turning to solar as a cheap alternative to polluting fossil fuels. Image: Unsplash.

Thin film manufacturer First Solar is to supply Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) with 200MW of solar modules to power its activities in the state, as mining companies the world over increasingly look to clean up their operations.

Barrick Gold Corporation owned NGM has started engineering works and expects to begin construction in Q3, with First Solar’s thin film modules expected to be delivered in the beginning of Q2 2023.

The 200MW solar plant will power 20% of NGM’s operations by 2025, with the company also looking to convert its coal fired power station to natural gas.

“The solar power plant will complement the transition of NGM’s coal power plant to a dual fuel process, which will enable it to generate electricity from natural gas, reducing carbon emissions by as much as 50%,” said Barrick group sustainability executive Grant Beringer.

With mounting pressure on companies in every sector to clean up their operations following national climate targets, there has been a flurry of activity from mining companies looking to invest in renewable power and shift away from fossil fuels.

For example, Australian metals company Fortescue has unveiled plans for a vast renewables hub including up to 3,333MW of solar to power its mining operations in Western Australia, while the South African mining industry is planning to build 3.9GW of renewable projects and storage and mining giant Rio Tinto is looking to deploy an additional 6GW of solar and wind in Australia.

NGM said it chose First Solar due to its fair labour practices, investment in American manufacturing and jobs and delivery of “high performance solar panels with the lowest carbon footprint”.

PV Tech Premium has recently explored low-carbon US solar manufacturing and how it is increasingly becoming an attractive option for developers and more competitive with China.

Also announced today, First Solar will be supplying 750MW of its thin film modules to Origis Energy to use throughout its US operations.  

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