Powering Iamgold’s Essakane mine in Burkina Faso with solar
A massive new hybrid fuel project is coming to West Africa. Toronto-based gold producer Iamgold has plans to integrate a new solar plant with its existing 57 MW thermal power plant. When finished, Iamgold may boast the largest hybrid fuel project in the world.
This won’t be the company’s first renewable energy project; Iamgold built a 5 MW solar power plant at its Rosebel gold mine in Suriname. Essakane is the firm’s largest gold mine, however, and the project will be on a much larger scale. The plan is to have a 15 MW solar power plant financed, developed, operated, and owned by a private renewable energy company experienced in building solar energy projects in Africa. Iamgold will then purchase the power.
Operations at the Essakane mine currently rely on heavy fuel oil. While oil prices have declined, solar remains very affordable, and Iamgold is still firmly committed to renewable energy. The firm aims to generate 15% of its power from renewables within the next 2-3 years.
“Maintaining a social license to operate is important, so constructing a sustainable power infrastructure that will benefit the communities in which we operate is important when evaluating the returns from renewable energy projects,” Stephen J.J. Letwin writes in a Northern Miner commentary.
The company’s Suriname project, for example, is the country’s first renewable source of energy, Letwin explains. “When we’re gone it will be left for the people of Suriname.”
See the full article in The Northern Miner.
Stephen Letwin outlined further details of the project at the Energy and Mines World Congress in 2017. Complete the form to view the video.
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