• Rio Tinto will be building its first company-owned solar power plant to power upcoming Koodaideri iron ore mine
  • The 34 MW solar PV project will be located in Pilbara, Australia and will be connected to a 12 MWh of energy storage system
  • Solar project will be built with an investment of $98 million and will cover around 65% of the mine’s average electricity demand

Mining & minerals company Rio Tinto has announced its first self owned solar power plant to come up in Australia’s Pilbara region. The 34 MW solar PV facility will be accompanied by a 12 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS). The Australian company plans to launch a competitive tender process to award the contract for building the project.

Power produced by some 100,000 solar panels spread across around 105 hectares land will be supplied to the company’s new $2.6 billion iron ore mine Koodaideri. Construction on the solar power plant is expected to begin later in 2020 and finish in 2021. The mine is expected to roll out first production by the end of 2021.

“The 34 MW solar photovoltaic plant is expected to supply all of Koodaideri’s electricity demand during peak solar power generation times and approximately 65% of the mine’s average electricity demand,” said Rio Tinto.

To be developed with an investment of $98 million, the solar facility one among additional renewable energy options the company is exploring in Pilbara with an aim to reduce its emissions across the global portfolio. The company already has an on-site solar facility in Weipa, Queensland to power its operations.

Rio Tinto participates in a $50 million multi-donor trust fund of the World Bank called Climate-Smart Mining Facility that will encourage sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals.

Rio Tinto adds to the list of recent announcements from Australian mining sector to go in for solar and storage power for their mining operations to cut costs and establish themselves as companies taking serious steps towards reducing their carbon footprint. Earlier this month, Fortescue Metals announced investing in a new 150 MW PV project and large scale battery storage plant along with a 150 MW gas fired capacity to power its Australian mining operations (see Australian Miner To Invest In 150 MW New PV Capacity).

Last week, Oz Minerals proposed to draw power from a 50 MW solar, wind, diesel and storage system for its new copper and nickel mine in West Musgrave (see Australian Miner Mulling Hybrid RE To Power New Mine).