Global mining house Gold Fields has completed building one of the world's largest renewable energy microgrids to help power its Granny Smith gold mine in Australia. This is in stark contrast to South Africa, where the company is still waiting for the green light for a solar plant at its South Deep mine.
Gold Fields said in a statement on Wednesday 7 October that "the new hybrid power system, which has been integrated with an existing gas-fired power station, is powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and supported by a 2MW/1MWh battery system".
The company added that it "will reduce the mine's fuel consumption by 10%-13% - the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road. In total, the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will produce around 18GWh of energy every year, with carbon emissions at the mine expected to be reduced by about 9,500 tCO2-e."
Mining companies have been under growing pressure, pointedly from shareholders, to clean up their environmental act - including reducing their carbon footprint. In the case of Gold Fields' Granny Smith mine, its location in the sunny centre of Western Australia makes it an ideal candidate for solar power.
South Africa is also...