JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Banque Internationale pour le Commerce, l’Industrie et l’Artisanat du Burkina (BICIAB), a BNP Paribas Group subsidiary, will provide $16.5-million in financing to Eren Renewable Energy for a 15 MW solar power plant that is under construction in Burkina Faso.
The funding was granted to Essakane Solar, the project venture that owns the power plant.
Located 330 km from Ouagadougou, the Essakane solar power plant is situated on Canadian gold miner Iamgold’s Essakane project site.
Essakane Solar and Iamgold entered into a power purchase agreement in March, with the solar power plant to be connected to the mine’s heavy fuel plant to make it the world’s largest hybrid solar photovoltaic-diesel facility.
The project will reduce the mine’s fuel consumption by about six-million litres of diesel a year and lower its yearly carbon dioxide emissions by around 18 500 t.
Eren Africa business development VP Christophe Fleurence said the collaboration with BICIAB has shown a great reactivity in the development of the project’s financing.
“This step marks the financial closure for what is a flagship project: after proving electricity generated from renewable energy could be cost-competitive and reliable for industrial customers such as mining companies, we are now demonstrating that captive projects such as Essakane involving private buyers can be bankable and carried out without public subsidies.
“Our goal is to roll out an optimised project scheme for large electricity consumers, validated by the banking sector – not only in Burkina Faso but also around the globe,” he added.
The Essakane solar project was jointly developed by Africa Energy Management Platform and Eren.
Wärtsilä was awarded the contract for the construction, which started in May, with commissioning scheduled for the first quarter of 2018.