- Gold Fields has won an approval from NERSA for a 40 MW solar power plant for its South African gold mine
- It needs to now get clearance from the acting CEO of NERSA post which the company will start project construction
- Gold fields says the mine will be able to lower its dependence on coal-fired capacity of Eskom, using 20% of its total average consumption from solar power
South Africa headquartered Gold Fields Limited has secured an electricity generation license from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to build a 40 MW solar power plant for its South Deep Gold Mine, currently operational in the country.
It brings the gold miner a step closer to start construction on site. The last step to get all approvals in place for the project will be to get authorization from the acting CEO of NERSA which the company expects to arrive over the next 2 weeks.
Located in Witwatersrand Basin near Westonaria near South African capital of Johannesburg, South Deep Mine will be able to secure 20% of its average electricity consumption to come from solar power generated by the 40 MW planned project. It will partially replace coal-fired power from national utility Eskom, enabling the mine to lower its emissions.
“The approval of this licence sends a strong, positive message to mining companies and their investors, potentially leading to decisions being taken to sustain and grow mining operations in the country, especially in deep-level, underground, marginal mines,” said Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland. “Enabling companies to generate their own power also gives Eskom room to address operational issues at its power plants.”
Earlier this month while delivering his State of the Nation Address, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa promised that his government is looking at easing licensing requirement for new embedded generation projects to ease impacts of load shedding while also amending regulations for municipalities to buy power from independent power producers (IPP) (see South Africa To Launch 2.6 GW Renewable Energy Tender).
The 40 MW South Deep Solar Plant wouldn’t be Gold Fields’ maiden attempt to get solar power for its facilities. It is already using solar and wind power for its mines in Chile and Australia, while also considering renewable energy for its other mines (see Solar-Diesel Hybrid Solution For Chilean Gold Mine).