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Rio completes Kennecott solar plant

11th October 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Rio Tinto has completed the construction of a 5 MW solar power plant at its Kennecott copper operation in Utah. 

The 12 800 solar panel power plant will be commissioned in coming weeks, enabling Kennecott to reduce its operational emissions by 3 000 t/y of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The plant will serve as a pilot project with the goal of expanding Kennecott’s solar energy supply in the future, Rio told shareholders this week.

Shifting to sustainable energy solutions is a priority for Kennecott. The mine closed down its coal-fired power plant in 2019, moving to electricity paired with renewable energy certificates. This resulted in a 65% reduction in its carbon footprint and the elimination of over one-million tons of carbon dioxide output per year.  

“Rio Tinto Kennecott has a key role to play in supporting the energy transition. We supply US companies with the copper and tellurium they need to produce solar panels, wind turbines, and conductors,” Rio Tinto Kennecott MD Nate Foster said.

“We also continue to take steps to further decarbonize our business, from our battery electric vehicle trial to our renewable diesel trial and now to our very own solar plant.” 

The location of the 30-acre solar array was carefully selected to minimize visual and environmental impacts. It is adjacent to other existing industrial operations, away from residential and commercial zones, with earthen berms from the railway providing a visual barrier to most of the installation.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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