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Gold Fields to build its biggest renewable energy project yet at St Ives

Gold Fields' Khanyisa solar plant at South Deep

Gold Fields' Khanyisa solar plant at South Deep

11th March 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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JSE- and NYSE-listed Gold Fields’ board has approved a A$296-million, or $195-million, renewable energy project to be built at the St Ives mine, in Western Australia.

The plant, comprising 42 MW of wind and 35 MW of solar capacity, will be the largest in the Gold Fields portfolio, to date, and will provide 73% of the electricity required by the operation.

The company plans to start construction in May and for the plant to be operational by the end of 2025.

The wind portion of the project will comprise seven wind turbines, while the solar power will be delivered by about 60 000 photovoltaic panels. Both the wind and solar plants will be connected to a 33 kV renewable energy hub substation and a 132 kV transmission line.

The power project is also the first to be built and managed by Gold Fields and not independent power producers.

It will reduce the operation’s electricity costs to a third of the previously projected costs by 2025.

Currently, six of Gold Fields’ ten mines are powered partially by renewable energy, with more projects to follow in future.

In particular, renewable energy provided 50% of the electricity consumed at the Agnew mine, in Australia, last year, and 15% of electricity at the South Deep operation, in South Africa.

The Cerro Corona mine, in Peru, and the Windfall project, in Canada, are both fully powered by hydroelectricity.

In total, renewable electricity accounted for 17% of electricity consumption across the Gold Fields business in 2023. This compares with a renewables share of 13% in 2022.

The St Ives plant, once operational, will boost renewable energy in Gold Fields’s electricity mix to 24% and will contribute significantly to the group’s 2030 target of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by a net 30% against a 2016 baseline.

CEO Mike Fraser says the St Ives renewables project is a clear and tangible signal of the group’s decarbonisation commitments. He adds that it will also provide the company with cheaper electricity and offer enhanced energy security.

Meanwhile, Gold Fields plans to expand its 8 MW solar plant at the Granny Smith mine, in Australia, to 11 MW, as well as add a 7.7 MW solar plant to the Salares Norte mine, in Chile, in addition to diesel generators.

The South Deep mine is awaiting environmental approval for six wind turbines to provide 40 MW of power to the operation.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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