Iron ore miner Rio Tinto will use the bleating Pilbara sun to help power its network.
On Monday the miner announced it would splash $98 million on a new solar plant and battery storage at its new Koodaideri mine.
The plant will cost $98 million.Credit: Leigh Henningham
The company expects the 34 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant would supply all of Koodaideri’s electricity demand during peak times and about 65 per cent of the mine’s average electricity demand.
Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said the plant was a significant milestone for the business and an important step in reducing its carbon footprint in the region.
“We are investigating additional renewable energy options in the Pilbara, as well as other opportunities to reduce emissions across our entire global portfolio, building on the 43 per cent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions since 2008," he said.
100,000 panels will suck up the rays covering an area of 105 hectares. The 12MWh battery will be built in Tom Price and will provide reserve capacity to add reliability to the network.
Construction was expected to begin later this year and with completion due 2021, subject to government approvals.
The company expected the project would reduce its footprint by 90,000 tonnes compared to conventional gas powered generation.
The $2.6 billion Koodaideri mine, 110 kilometres from the town of Newman, was approved in November last year with construction commencing earlier this year.
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