Dual-listed Orion Minerals has inked a collaboration agreement with renewable energy company juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to investigate renewable energy supply for the Prieska zinc-copper project in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
South Africa – The preliminary scope is to investigate the feasibility of generating and supplying 35 MW of electricity for the Prieska project, from a hybrid power system using integrated wind and solar technologies.
The result of the assessment will inform the long-term power supply strategy for the Prieska project and are in line with local government Integrated Development Plans.
The renewable energy generation site will be located within 20 km of the Prieska project, making the establishment of a dedicated feed via an overhead power transmission line possible.
To date, juwi South Africa has built five utility-scale solar plants totalling 121 MW and developed the 138 MW Garob Wind Farm, which will soon start construction – all developed under the South African Government's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) – with a further three solar projects (totalling 250 MW) currently under construction. juwi South Africa also participates in the South African Government's Small Independent Power Producer (IPP) Program and operates and maintains all its solar projects on behalf of their owners.
“This agreement is in line with our strategy to make best use of our geographic advantage in the semi-arid Northern Cape province of South Africa. This region has the highest irradiance levels in the country with its hot, dry climate and is also very well-suited for wind farms,” says Orion Minerals MD and CEO Errol Smart.
The Northern Cape is already a well-established renewable energy generating region with 190 MW of solar power plants in operation and 240 MW of wind power currently under construction immediately adjacent to the Prieska project.
“This opportunity can only improve our long-term power supply security, while at the same time lessening the burden on the national electricity grid and reducing our carbon and water footprint. Our decision to pursue renewable power supply options is another illustration of our commitment to build a modern 21st century mine at Prieska that employs innovative technologies and embraces sustainability,” Smart adds noting that the investment in a long-term renewable energy solution also makes perfect sense for a long-life production asset such as Prieska.
The investigations into renewable energy solutions at Orion’s Prieska project will complement the ongoing bankable feasibility study, with the additional benefit of potentially improving the base case plan of obtaining national grid power directly from the Cuprum sub-station already established on site. Developing the renewable energy potential of the region is also a strategic goal of local government, as communicated in its Integrated Development Plans.
Orion and juwi intend to continue to work closely with local government, under the auspice of the collaboration agreement entered into with the Siyathemba Municipality in October 2017, to maximise the employment and enterprise development in the local communities.