Rio Tinto mulls 4 GW of renewable proposals for its Queensland operations


With Rio Tinto being Queensland’s largest energy user, the global mining company in June called for market proposals to develop large-scale wind and solar to power its aluminium assets in Queensland.

That call was promptly heeded, with Rio Tinto’s Australian chief executive, Kellie Parker, saying it had received proposals for “a lot more than the 4 GW.”

Rio Tinto appears to be keeping a check on expectations though, with Parker adding in her speech to the Melbourne Mining Club on Friday: “All of us understand that Australia remains an expensive location to build, so it won’t be easy.” Parker did not give any indication of costs, however.

The company is seeking to meet the energy needs of three of its Gladstone assets, including the Boyne smelter, the Yarwun alumina refinery and the Queensland Alumina refinery. “These assets require 1,140 MW of reliable power to operate, which equates to at least 4,000 MW of quality wind or solar power with firming,” Rio Tinto back in June.

Such a massive fit out would require much planning and the company does not seem to have even decided on its renewable model yet, with Parker saying Rio Tinto had received proposals which put it in varying roles from project owner, to operator, partner, investor and customer.

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