Rio Tinto signs renewable energy agreement in Madagascar
28-07-2021 13:03:00 | by: Pie Kamau | hits: 1983 | Tags:

Rio Tinto has signed a power purchasing agreement for a new renewable energy plant to power the operations of its QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar.

This project, which uses solar and wind energy, will significantly contribute towards Rio Tinto’s operations in Madagascar achieving its carbon neutral objective by 2023. The project is part of a broader initiative to reduce the ilmenite mine’s environmental footprint which includes programmes that focus on emissions reduction, waste and water management, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and reforestation.

Sinead Kaufman, CEO, Rio Tinto Minerals, said: “With this flagship project, QMM is leading the way at Rio Tinto and in Madagascar in utilizing renewable energy to power mining operations and reduce carbon emissions.”

The renewable energy plant, to be built, owned and operated by independent power producer, CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), over a 20-year period, will consist of an 8 MW solar facility and a 12 MW wind energy facility to power mining and processing operations. There will also be a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MW as reserve capacity to ensure a stable and reliable network.

It will supply all of QMM’s electricity demand during peak generation times, and up to 60 percent of the operations’ annual electricity consumption. QMM will replace the majority of the power it currently supplies to the town of Fort Dauphin and the community of around 80,000 people with renewables.

Andriatongarivo Tojonirina Andrisoa, Secretary General, Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Madagascar, said: “The Government of Madagascar is committed to the energy transition and to setting up Madagascar to be energy independent, as stated in the President’s Initiative pour l’Emergence de Madagascar (IEM). QMM’s renewable energy project, technically ambitious with two installations dedicated to solar and wind, is fully aligned with that vision. It makes Madagascar a global reference point for the use of renewable energy to supply clean, reliable power in the mining sector and other industries, and to the community.”

The renewable energy plant will comprise more than 18,000 solar panels and up to nine wind turbines located in the Port Ehoala Park area. Construction is expected to begin this year with the solar plant scheduled to start operations at the beginning 2022. The wind power plant is planned to commence construction early 2022 and become operational by the end of 2022.

Ny Fanja Rakotomalala, President, QMM, said: “This project is a strong example of our commitment with the Government of Madagascar to the sustainable development of the region. 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. 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.”

www.riotinto.com