Fortescue turns to solar power
PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Iron-ore giant Fortescue Metals has struck a landmark agreement with Alinta Energy to employ renewable energy at the Chichester Hub iron-ore operations, in the Pilbara.
Up to 100% of the daytime stationary energy requirements at the Chichester Hub will be powered by renewable energy, with Fortescue saying on Friday that the solar gas hybrid project would see the construction of a 60 MW solar photovoltaic generating facility at Chichester, which comprises the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations.
In addition, a 60-km transmission line linking the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operation with Alinta's Newman gas fired power station will also be constructed, along with a 35 MW battery facility, to be completed by mid 2021.
"Reliable and competitive energy generation remains an important consideration for the mining sector in Western Australia, and as a significant consumer of energy, we continue to identify opportunities that have the potential to lower our costs while also improving our carbon footprint," said Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines.
"This landmark project is a first on this scale for the Pilbara and will reduce carbon emissions from stationary generation by around 40% at Fortescue's Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations, while driving long-term sustainable cost reductions to maintain Fortescue's global cost leadership position."
Once operational, the project is expected to displace some 100-million liters a year used in the existing power stations at Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak.
Alinta will receive A$24.2-million in federal funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and a A$90-million loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund, subject to ratification from the state government.
Gaines said that the agreement with Alinta marked a significant milestone in Fortescue's energy strategy, and represented a further step in the creation of Fortescue's Pilbara energy connect project.
"In addition, Fortescue will invest an estimated $250-million in energy transmission infrastructure, which will complete the integration of Fortescue's iron-ore operations in the Pilbara into an efficient energy network.
"The Pilbara energy connect project builds on our previous energy initiatives, including the construction of the Fortescue River gas pipeline, the conversion of the Solomon power station from diesel to gas generation, as well as a partnership agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to develop and commercialise hydrogen technologies."
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