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Oilsands, mining companies watch mine-to-solar conversion project with intrigue

June 29
01:00 2017

Video: SunMine: How solar is transforming an old mining town.

Contaminated mining sites could be reborn as solar fields in the near future. A new solar project at the Sullivan mine site near Kimberley in southeast British Columbia is attempting to do just that.

Rather than leaving the reclaimed yet tainted site vacant, energy company Teck donated the land to the city for the purpose of establishing a solar array on the property. It also contributed $2 million towards the $5.3 million project.

The former mine is now home to 96 solar panels that produce one megawatt of electricity. While the array will power roughly 200 homes, it could be expanded to supply all of Kimberley’s 7,000 residents with clean energy.  

“I think specifically in Alberta, where there are a number of [otherwise unsuitable] brownfield sites and they don’t have the hydroelectric potential that British Columbia has, I could see this taking off,” said Scott Sommerville, the city’s chief administrator.

If successful, the project could demonstrate a way for mining companies to recoup some of the costs of restoring defunct sites. The arrangement also benefits cities by enabling them to safely reuse brownfields as power generation sites.

Read the full article at CBC News.



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Kate Dougherty

Kate Dougherty

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Energy and Mines Australia

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