B2Gold approves $38m hybrid energy project for Mali mine

14th October 2019 By: Simone Liedtke - Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

Canadian gold miner B2Gold has approved the $38-million implementation of an offgrid solar battery hybrid system at its Fekola mine, in Mali.

Construction is set to start at the end of this year, with completion scheduled for August 2020.

The approval follows the completion of a preliminary study earlier this year which evaluated the technical and economic viability of adding the solar battery plant to the mine site.

The study was done by Suntrace and its partner, BayWa.

“It is a strong commitment by B2Gold to build such a significant solar-battery plant as a fuel saver for the Fekola mine,” Suntrace COO Martin Schlect comments.

According to Schlect, this project is a landmark in terms of battery and photovoltaic (PV) plant size with respect to an offgrid project.

BayWa’s solar projects’ Africa regional manager, Tobias Kriete, meanwhile, says the fuel savings will enable repayment on the investment, as well as reduce energy costs and cut carbon emissions.

The PV-battery system will be integrated with the existing power plant to ensure safe and reliable operation of the hybrid plant and allow fuel savings of 13.1-million litres of heavy fuel oil (HFO) a year.

Electricity for the mining site is currently being generated exclusively by means of HFO and diesel generators.

The addition of the 30 MW net capacity solar battery plant will allow the mine to shut off up to three HFO engines during day, with a 13.5 MWh battery storage component providing the buffer for the irradiation fluctuations.