HomeBase MetalsOrion collaboration will achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Orion collaboration will achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions

Orion Minerals has commenced discussions to collaborate with the Central Energy Corporation (CENEC) to include its flagship Prieska CopperZinc Project into CENEC’s Prieska Power ReserveTM, a mega-scale renewable energy hub currently being planned for the Prieska district in South Africa.

The Prieska Power ReserveTM is a large-scale initiative aimed at generating electrical energy from renewable sources and storing this energy as green hydrogen and ammonia on a long-term basis.

The project intends to achieve energy independence and to avoid the constraints and limitations of the national electricity grid.

Access to the Prieska Power ReserveTM will significantly reduce carbon emissions from the Prieska Project, with the potential that the mine could be entirely powered by renewable energy and green hydrogen sources to potentially achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

This would position Prieska as one of the greenest and lowest carbon-emission copper and zinc producers anywhere in the world.

In addition, it would also have the potential to significantly reduce mine operating costs, with the recent results of the fifth round of South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Program returning an average bid price of ZAR0.473/kWh for renewable energy – less than half the assumed base power cost of ZAR0.93/kWh used in the Prieska Project Bankable Feasibility Study published on 26 May 2020.

These reduced power costs also open the door to potentially incorporate future value-adding beneficiation and downstream processing at Prieska using reliable, low-cost, clean renewable energy.

The collaboration with CENEC builds on an earlier collaboration agreement signed with juwi Renewable Energies (juwi) to investigate the feasibility of generating and supplying 35 MW of electricity for the Prieska Project from a bespoke hybrid power system using integrated wind and solar technologies.

Orion, juwi and CENEC are now in discussions regarding the potential inclusion of this bespoke power production plant at the Prieska Project into the Prieska Power ReserveTM, for an off-grid power supply solution.

Given that the Prieska Project will require only 32 MW, eventually supplied from renewable energy facilities adjacent to the mine, these recent legislative changes will significantly shorten licencing timelines and costs to commissioning an off-grid power supply setup, as well as accelerating the progress towards net-zero carbon emissions for the operations.

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Orion’s MD and CEO, Errol Smart, commented:

“We are delighted to be in discussions with both CENEC and our existing renewable energy partner, juwi, regarding the potential incorporation of the Prieska Mine into CENEC’s Prieska Power ReserveTM Project, which is set to become one of the largest renewable energy hubs in South Africa.

“The establishment of an independently owned and developed, large-scale renewable energy production and storage facility right on our doorstep represents a hugely exciting opportunity to establish Prieska as one of the lowest carbon emission sources of copper and zinc supply globally, with the potential to ultimately achieve carbon neutrality for the project.”

“Following South Africa’s signing of the Just Energy Transition Partnership agreement at the COP26 Conference earlier this month, South Africa is set to make a rapid transition away from the reliance on fossil fuels, and Orion intends to play a leading role in supporting this transition. This is a really exciting opportunity for us to play a pivotal role in the global energy transformation by delivering one of the largest new projects capable of meeting soaring demand for critical metals, such as copper and doing so in a way that goes above and beyond our corporate and ESG objectives, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint.”