Focusing on “green gold”: the WA mine uses solar, wind and battery energy to reach 100% renewable energy

Bellevue Gold aims to become Australia’s first publicly traded gold miner to generate net zero emissions, claiming it will sell its “green gold” at a premium by reducing energy costs with renewable energy.

Bellevue announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement with sustainable distributed energy supplier Energy Developments Pty Ltd (EDL) for an off-grid wind, solar and battery-powered hybrid power plant to be built at its gold mine in Western Australia. .

The hybrid power solution, while not yet finalized, will use the combination of renewable energy and battery storage to provide an average of 80% of the site’s energy needs of around 13 MW, the company says, taking into account some of the gas energy backup.

But EDL claims the hybrid power solution incorporating wind, solar and battery accumulators want allow regular periods of operation on 100% renewable energy, with all thermals generators off when not needed.

EDL already owns and operates a similar turnkey micro-network at the Agnew gold mine, 35km south of the Bellevue mine, which was commissioned last year by Gold Fields of South Africa. Gold Fields is committed to reducing net carbon emissions by 30% in its mines in South Africa, Australia and Latin America by 2030.

By reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a renewable energy power plant and undertaking other sustainable initiatives, Bellevue believes it can mine carbon-neutral gold, giving it an important competitive advantage in global investment markets, where pressure is mounting for companies offering shares. to reduce their carbon footprints.

“Bellevue is expected to be a gold mine of 200,000 ounces per year … powered by 80% renewable energy, on a path to net zero emissions as a world leader in the race to decarbonise the mining sector,” he said. said CEO Steve Parsons.

Parsons said Bellevue’s pre-production carbon mitigation strategy was “strategic” and “world-leading,” achieving the “holy grail” of lower emissions and direct cost reductions in power generation.

“The combination of these metrics should position Bellevue as one of Australia’s most sustainable and financially successful gold miners, maximizing returns for all stakeholders,” he said.

“It will also underpin the company’s strong appeal to global investors, who demand performance on both financial and ESG measures.”

An increasing number of investors have tried to quantify the climate implications of investment holdings using what is called a portfolio’s “temperature rating” or “warming potential”. This offers a high-level indication of what portfolio holdings imply for the global temperature forecast for 2100.

Bellevue and EDL are now negotiating an energy purchase agreement for the project, which is subject to approval by both companies’ boards.

The EDL-built power plant will prioritize the use of renewable energy, but will also include a gas engine configuration, which will always ensure enough power for the mine, even in the rare absence of solar and wind resources, according to Parsons.

EDL will supply gas transported to the mine to “maintain the optionality for possible future technological innovations in alternative fuels for thermal generation,” he said.

Renewable energy is expected to meet up to 80% of the mine’s annual electricity needs by leveraging the region’s strong solar and wind resources.

Bellevue modeled wind speed and direction with SODAR – a meteorological instrument used as a wind profiler – which enabled the integration of wind turbines to increase the penetration rate of renewable energy.

Maximizing renewable energy uptake was a key design consideration for the transformation plant. The facility will have the ability to use more energy, such as shredding and heating, when more renewable energy is available, reducing heat needs, according to Parsons.

The design offers Bellevue an affordable renewable energy supply and optimizes the energy demand curve to better align with the main peaks and troughs of day and night wind power.

Parsons believes this could potentially offset more than 1 MW of heat generation demand and lead to direct cost savings and reduced emissions.

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