Anglo-Australian metals mining giant Rio Tinto will source clean energy from a renewable energy plant to be built, owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) to power its QMM ilmenite mine in Southern Madagascar, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
Located in Fort Dauphin, the QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) is a joint venture between Rio Tinto and the Government of Madagascar. Here, the company mines for ilmenite that it says is a major source of titanium dioxide that’s primarily used as a white pigment in paints, paper, among other things.
CBE will build the renewable energy plant with an 8 MW solar facility with 18,000 solar panels, and a 12 MW wind energy project with 9 turbines to power mining and processing operations. With up to 8.25 MW capacity, a lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) is also part of the project as reserve capacity to ensure network reliability.
Project construction for solar power plant is to begin in 2021 for it to come online by the start of 2022.
QMM will be able to meet all of its electricity demand during peak generation times, and will account for up to 60% of its annual electricity consumption with this project.
“On a sunny and windy day, all the electricity needed by QMM and the Fort Dauphin community will be generated by the Malagasy sun and wind,” said QMM President Ny Fanja Rakotomalala. “It is a major step forward on our journey towards a truly sustainable mine, that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity.”
In 2019, a World Bank report estimated that by 2050, global demand for strategic minerals will shoot up greatly, and set up a $50 million Climate-Smart Mining Facility to encourage sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals, with Rio Tinto as one of the partners. Focus of the facility will be on resource-rich developing nations and emerging economies (see World Bank Facility For Sustainable Sourcing For RE).