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Gold Fields to expand renewables in WA

7th August 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – Gold miner Gold Fields is looking to further invest in renewable energy generation at its Western Australian operations.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Diggers & Dealers conference, Gold Fields executive VP for Australia Stuart Mathews said the strategy going forward would see continued investment in renewables.

At Agnew, Gold Fields is undertaking the expansion of its solar capacity in 2023 to 13 MW, up from the current 4 MW. This solar capacity is in addition to the 18 MW of wind, 18 MW of gas, 13 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) and 3 MW of diesel capacity already at the site.

The expansion of the solar capacity would mean that 70% of the Agnew electricity supply would be renewable, up from the current 54%.

At Granny Smith, Gold Fields is also looking at expanding its solar capacity from 7 MW to 18 MW, in addition to the 2 MW BESS and 35 MW gas capacity already in place, along with the 5 MW diesel capacity.

Mathews said on Monday that the renewable capacity expansion at Granny Smith would cover 30% of the electricity supply.

“We have also started a study on wind potential at Granny Smith. There is a significant future at Granny Smith, and that will require power. We are also investigating the possibility of electrifying the mine and automation, where we are investigating the technology now, in order to lower the operating cost at the mine and make it viable for the long term,” he told Mining Weekly Online.

Mathews noted that the mill at Granny Smith was still underfed, with the plant only operating around 20 days a month.

“Because of the depth, we are a little constrained in getting the ore out of Granny Smith, but if we employ big renewable solutions and have cheaper power, we can look at other haulage solutions from underground other than trucks, which might be able to up the production from the mine and feed the plant.”

Meanwhile, at Gruyere, a feasibility study on the expansion of renewables capacity is also in progress, to add to the existing 13 MW of solar capacity, 4.4 MW of BESS, 53 MW of gas and 3 MW of diesel.

Furthermore, the company has also launched a feasibility study for renewables at St Ives, looking at a 40 MW solar farm and 60 MW wind farm. Up to 80% of the St Ives electricity demand could potentially be supplied by renewables.

The renewables project is expected to be a two- to 2.5-year project and would cover the life-of-mine of the mine.

Mathews told Mining Weekly Online that Gold Fields could potentially fund the renewables cost itself, instead of partnering with third-party providers, in order to capitalise on the operating cost savings.

“It is likely to be several hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. But what we get if we invested ourselves is the operating cost reduction, which will be massively significant per annum.”

Meanwhile, Mathews noted that Gold Field’s merger and acquisition strategy was firmly in place following a foiled $6.7-billion acquisition of Yamana Gold earlier this year.

“We definitely have a growth strategy,” Mathews said.

“We also have an appetite for greenfields exploration. We are stepping back into greenfields in a very deliberate, disciplined way. So we are looking at new opportunities in new jurisdictions, and that also applies to Australia where we might invest early but for the long term.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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