Mali gold mine to halve energy costs with 40MW solar-storage-HFO plant

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The hybrid project will replace an existing 28MW diesel-fired power plant at Syama Gold Mine. Credit: Resolute ASX Filing

Australian firm Resolute Mining has signed an agreement with Africa-focused power developer Ignite Energy to set up a 40MW hybrid solar, battery and heavy fuel oil (HFO) plant at its Syama Gold Mine in Mali, according to an Australian Stock exchange (ASX) filing.

This will replace an existing 28MW diesel-fired power plant at Syama. The new project, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2020, could become the world's largest off-grid hybrid power plant for a stand-alone mining operation and will offer around 40% energy cost savings at Resolute's gold mine.

The plant will also reduce Resolute’s exposure to oil price escalations as well as making savings on fuel logistics.

The ASX filing stated: “Resolute said that HFO fuel costs can be up to 50% lower than diesel with larger modern generating units substantially more efficient than Resolute’s current engines.”

The energy storage batteries will be used to provide spinning reserve and manage loads efficiently.

The plant will be financed, owned and operated by Ignite Energy. It will supply power to the mine on a guaranteed basis over a 12-20 year term, although the power purchase agreement (PPA) is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2019.

John Welborn, MD and CEO of Resolute, said: “Resolute aims to be a leader in mining innovation and to promote responsible and sustainable positive economic growth in Africa. The partnership with Ignite Energy to develop a low-cost hybrid power solution for Syama will establish the Company as global leader in energy solutions for the mining sector.”

Resolute Mining has operated nine gold mines over 28 years and currently runs mines in Mali, Australia and Ghana.

Dr. Thomas Hilig recently published the top C&I solar projects in Africa on PV Tech.

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