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Rio Tinto approves renewable energy project for bauxite operations

4th December 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Diversified miner Rio Tinto has approved a new 12.4 MW solar farm and 8.8 MVa/2.1 MWh of battery storage to provide renewable energy for the Amrun bauxite operations near Weipa, Queensland.

The 12.4 MW solar farm and battery storage are part of Rio Tinto’s global decarbonisation strategy and ongoing efforts to reduce emissions at its Pacific bauxite, alumina and aluminium operations.

The solar farm and battery storage projects will reduce Amrun’s diesel electricity consumption by 37% and yearly carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 14 000 t, and will add to the existing 5.6 MW of solar and 4 MWh of battery power built for the Weipa operations and the local electricity network since 2015.

“The Amrun solar farm will be one of three Weipa operations solar stations, which will together provide 18 MW of solar generation capacity to our mines and the Weipa town. This project helps us make inroads towards our ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our operations,” said Rio Tinto Weipa operations GM Shona Markham.

Aggreko has been contracted to build, own, and operate the solar farm to supply renewable electricity to the mine operations, in addition to its current contract to supply electricity generated from an existing diesel power station.

Early works have begun on the new solar farm, which is expected to be operational by early 2025. Once completed, the Amrun solar farm will provide about 21 GWh/y hours of renewable power.

Combined with the existing Weipa renewable power generation network, the solar farms will reduce Weipa Operations’ diesel consumption by an estimated 10-million litres a year and lower its yearly GHG emissions by about 28 000 t - the equivalent of taking more than 6 000 internal combustion engine passenger cars off the road.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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