Solar energy

juwi Renewable Energy will construct a 10.6MW solar power station at Sandfire Resources‘ DeGrussa copper mine in Western Australia.

As part of the $40m project, juwi will construct an integrated off-grid solar facility and also own and operate it.

The Australian copper producing company will contribute under $1m to the project, which is expected to cut DeGrussa copper mine’s carbon emissions by an estimated 12,000t a year.

To be built on 20ha of land near the existing underground mine site, the proposed solar power station will use a 10.6MW solar array consisting of 34,080 solar photovoltaic panels and a 6MW battery.

The power station will be integrated with the existing 20MW diesel-fired power station at DeGrussa, which is owned and operated by Kalgoorlie Power Systems (KPS).

"Sandfire [will] make a solid contribution to the broader challenge of reducing CO2 emissions and potentially reducing our operating costs in the long-run."

Design of the integrated system will ensure that the diesel power station continues to provide base-load power to the DeGrussa mine with required load.

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Sandfire Resources managing director Karl Simich said: "The scale of this project will be an Australian and world first; a unique combination of an off-grid, high-capacity solar power array, which will be fully integrated with an existing diesel power station.

"It is a very manageable project, which importantly, will not impact on the efficiency or safety of our existing operations, while allowing Sandfire to make a solid contribution to the broader challenge of reducing CO2 emissions and potentially reducing our operating costs in the long-run."

According to the company, the project has the capacity to extend the mine life of the DeGrussa project.

Construction of the plant is expected to commence during the second quarter of the year, with completion estimated by year-end. Commissioning is due in the first quarter of 2016.

Image: juwi will construct an off-grid solar facility for Sandfire’s DeGrussa copper mine. Photo: courtesy of dan/