Red 5 signs on for ride with renewables-powered mining on the rise


The Perth-based Red 5 has signed a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Zenith which will build, own and operate the hybrid solar PV-gas power plant which will feature a 2 MWdc solar farm coupled with a battery energy storage system (BESS).

The facility will also include reciprocating gas fuel power generation, with gas to be supplied from the Goldfields Gas Pipeline, located 12km west of the mine site near Leonora in the Eastern Goldfields region of WA.

The contract includes provision for a potential upgrade of the power plant with power supply to the site expected to commence in early 2022.

Red 5 managing director Mark Williams said the PPA marked an important construction milestone for the King of the Hills project and would help the company reduce the carbon footprint of the project.

“We are pleased to have signed the Power Purchase Agreement with Zenith, an experienced power producer which provided us with a compelling hybrid thermal and sustainable power solution that includes renewable energy,” he said.

“Zenith’s combination of a gas and solar power station, supported by a battery energy storage system, provides the efficiency and stability required for the processing plant and infrastructure to enable King of the Hills to be a long-life, low-cost gold producer.”

The project expands Zenith’s portfolio of off-grid power stations to an even dozen, including the 26 MW hybrid solar PV-diesel power plant servicing the Independence Group’s Nova nickel, copper and cobalt mine in WA’s Fraser Range region.

BHP has signed a PPA with the owners of the Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia.

Image: Risen Energy

Red 5 is just the latest mining company to recognise the value of solar PV with renewables-powered mining on the rise in Australia.

Global mining giant BHP announced in January it had signed an agreement with Risen Energy for the 100 MWdc Merredin Solar Farm in WA to supply up to 50% of the miner’s electricity needs for its Nickel West Kwinana refinery over the coming 10 years.

That announcement came after it had signed a five-year energy take-off agreement to use green sources for half of its Queensland energy needs.

Rio Tinto is also looking to transition to renewables, approving the construction of a $98 million solar and BESS at its Koodaideri mine in the Pilbara. The project will feature a 34 MW solar PV plant alongside a 12 MWh lithium-ion battery.

In one of the biggest renewable energy projects in the resource sector, Fortescue Metals has announced its Chichester iron ore mining hub in WA’s Pilbara region will be run entirely off renewable energy during the day, powered by a massive 60 MW solar farm coupled with a 35 MW/11 MWh battery facility.

Other notable developments in Western Australia include a 7.3 MW solar array and 2 MW/1 MWh battery at the Granny Smith gold mine in the Eastern Goldfields region and the DeGrussa project – a hybrid system located at Sandfire’s copper and gold mine site in WA, which comprises a 10.6 MW solar facility coupled with a 6 MWh battery facility – integrated with an existing diesel generator.

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