Sound economics spur Aussie mining giant on to solar and wind

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Staff at Oz Minerals' operational Prominent Hill Mine in South Australia. Source: Oz Minerals

Australian miner Oz Minerals is turning to wind and solar power for operations at what is billed as the largest unexplored nickel-copper deposit in Australia, it order to curb the need for “high cost fossil fuels.”

The Australian mining giant estimates that 55MW of combined diesel, solar and wind will satisfy the West Musgrave mine's power needs. Renewables will account for 70 to 80% of power generation. The remainder will be supplied by diesel and battery storage.

The West Musgrave mine is near the border between South Australia and Western Australia. Adelaide-based Oz Minerals, one of the largest miners in Australia, has a 70% stake in the project. Perth-based Cassini Resources owns the rest.

“Baseline data collected over the last year has demonstrated a high quality, consistent solar and wind resource is available, with higher wind velocities at night offsetting the lack of solar power,” a mine progress update released by Oz Minerals on Wednesday reads. It noted that solar PV and wind power solutions are both “economically viable” and “technically mature.”

Such an economic viability is critical, it said, given that power accounts for a whopping 40% of the operation’s processing costs.

Power is to be sourced through a power purchase agreement. Oz Minerals said it has received a “large number” of proposals from major utilities, independent power producers, infrastructure funders and equipment manufacturers.

The companies have extended the mine’s pre-feasibility timeline to early 2020 on account of “several opportunities and some threats” that warrant “further investigation.”  

Oz Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said in a statement that the opportunities, which include the hybrid power solutions, have “the potential to reduce our carbon footprint and power costs versus a traditional mine footprint, while improving overall project economics.”

Oz Minerals and Cassini Resources are the latest in a string of miners turning to renewables to offset fossil fuel generation in Australia.

In June, Oz Minerals announced that it would trial a wind-solar-storage power plant, which includes 250kW of solar, at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia. Earlier this year, Gold Fields signed a contract with British power generation equipment provider Aggreko to build and operate an 8MWp/2MW hybrid solar-thermal-battery storage system at its Granny Smith mine in Western Australia.

Read Next

September 16, 2021
Renewables developer Amp Energy has secured financing for a 120MW solar installation in the Australian state of New South Wales that is expected to begin energisation in early 2022.
September 16, 2021
Australia’s government has committed AU$19.2 million (US$14 million) to implement the recommendations of a new report that that aims to improve regulation and compliance in the country’s rooftop solar sector.
September 13, 2021
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will support projects that further lower the cost of renewable generation as part of a new investment strategy aimed at underpinning the transition to net zero emissions.
August 31, 2021
Renewables developer Amp Energy has signed a land deal with an aboriginal community group in Australia, allowing the development of a utility-scale solar-storage project.
August 31, 2021
Accelerating deployment of utility-scale solar and wind means much of Australia could have sufficient renewables generation to meet 100% of consumer demand at certain times of the day by 2025, the Australian Energy Market Operator has said.
August 27, 2021
A plan to establish Australia’s largest renewable energy zone in the state of New South Wales has seen an overwhelming level of interest, with projects representing 34GW of capacity submitted.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021