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West African gold mine signs solar power purchase agreement

West African gold mine Iamgold Essakane has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with renewable-energy suppliers in a move that will slice its diesel use and lower its carbon footprint.

EREN Renewable Energy and its associate African Energy Management Platform (AEMP) on Monday announced that the 15 MWp, $20-million solar project would be constructed at the mine, which is situated off-grid, 330 km from Ouagadougou, and the capital of Burkina Faso.

On a 22 ha location, the project will vend the electricity produced from the solar plant to Iamgold Essakane, which is owned together by Toronto- and New York-listed Iamgold Corporation, with 90%, and the Burkino Faso government with 10%.

Global renewable energy independent power producer EREN, the 90% shareholder of the project company, and developer AEMP, the proprietor of the remaining 10%, expect to commission the solar farm by late of 2017, dipping the mine’s fuel usage by an estimated six-million litres of diesel annually and carbon dioxide emissions by 18 500 t a year.

For mines that run around the clock with energy budgets of 30% of working costs, the hybridisation of diesel power plants with a renewable-energy source decreases energy costs, betters carbon and social footprints and get around against oil price instability, the renewable-energy companies said in a release.

The gold mine produced 400 000 oz of gold in 2015.
This project is EREN’s second utility-scale project in Africa and will be one of the biggest hybrid diesel solar photovoltaic projects in the world, EREN Africa business development VP Christophe Fleurence said.

It symbolizes a breakthrough for industries relying on expensive and carbon intensive diesel production, which, until very lately, has been the sole dependable source of electricity, added AEMP’s Richard Duffy.

The project is estimated to also bring the generation of 40 new jobs.

West African gold mine signs solar power purchase agreement

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