PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner BHP on Friday reported that it would build two solar farms and a battery storage system to help power the Mt Keith and Leinster nickel operations.
The Northern Goldfields solar project would include a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt Keith and a 10.7 MW solar farm and 10.1 MW battery at Leinster, and would displace power currently supplied by diesel and gas turbine generation.
This would result in an estimated reduction of 540 000 t of carbon dioxide equivalent over the first 10 years of operation, BHP said.
BHP commissioned the solar farms and battery to be built, owned and operated by TransAlta as part of the power purchase agreement extension signed in October 2020. Construction would start the second quarter of 2022, and would take between 12 to 14 months to complete.
At its peak, there would be more than 100 people on site, the company stated.
“This is the first large-scale on-site solar farm and battery that BHP has commissioned at any of its global operations,” BHP Nickel West asset president Eddy Haegel said.
“The Northern Goldfields solar project will further improve our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world. It will reduce emissions from electricity use at Mt Keith and Leinster by 12%, reduce fuel costs and improve the reliability of our electricity supply with the addition of the battery storage system.
“This announcement follows the nickel supply agreement we signed with Tesla last week. Sustainable low carbon nickel is essential for our battery and electric vehicle customers.”
The partnership with TransAlta Corporation would contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions from our operated assets by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.
The project is subject to final Western Australian state government approvals.