Solar-storage hybrid project to power Sierra Leone gold mine

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A C&I solar plant from CrossBoundary in Kenya. Image: CrossBoundary Energy

Renewable energy financing platform CrossBoundary Energy will develop a hybrid solar PV, battery energy storage system (BESS) and thermal energy project at the Baomahun gold mine in Sierra Leone.

In a partnership with FG Gold, a Sierra Leonean gold mining company, the project will supply around 90% of the mine’s energy demand during daylight hours. CrossBoundary said in a press release that the site will be Sierra Leone’s first large-scale commercial gold mining project and could “become a model for sustainable mining operations”.

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CrossBoundary will finance the development and construction of the project, which will feature 23.8MW of solar PV, 13.8MWh/13MW BESS and a 21MW thermal plant. Construction is expected to begin in Q4 2024.

Matt Fredericks, global head of mining at CrossBoundary Energy, said: “Our innovative hybrid energy solution will not only provide cleaner and more cost-effective power but also set a new standard for sustainable mining practices in Africa.”

James Shoetan, CCO at CrossBoundary added: “The Baomahun Gold Mine project is a landmark in our portfolio and brings our mining portfolio to over US$150M across ten projects. It’s also a testament to our mission to help boost sustainable economic development across African countries such as Sierra Leone.”

In November 2022, CrossBoundary announced a partnership with the Bank of America to explore financing solutions for solar PV and wind developments across Africa. CrossBoundary said that the deal would support its then-pipeline of 225MW of solar and wind capacity and 50MWh of BESS.

There is precedent for decarbonising operations at gold mines. Last month, the Barrick Gold Corporation announced plans for two sites – one in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and another in Mongolia –  to be paired with solar PV installations. The Canadian miner is facilitating the development at the DRC mine, which will see a 16MW solar PV plant installed, alongside a BESS, in 2025.

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