Rio Tinto has signed a power purchasing agreement for a new renewable energy plant to power the operations of its QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar.

The project, which plans to use solar and wind energy, claims it will significantly contribute towards Rio Tinto’s carbon neutral objective. Rio Tinto aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2023. The project is part of a broader initiative which aims to reduce the ilmenite mine’s environmental footprint which includes programmes that focus on emissions reduction, waste and water management, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and reforestation.

The renewable energy plant, which will be built, owned and operated by CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), over a 20-year period, will consist of an 8 MW solar facility and a 12 MW wind energy facility to power mining and processing operations. The plant will also feature a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MW as reserve capacity to ensure a stable and reliable network.

Rio Tinto claims that the facility will supply all of QMM’s electricity demand during peak generation times, and up to 60 percent of the operations’ annual electricity consumption. QMM will replace the majority of the power it currently supplies to the town of Fort Dauphin and the community of around 80,000 people with renewables.

The renewable energy plant has planned to install 18,000 solar panels and up to nine wind turbines which will be located in the Port Ehoala Park area. Construction is expected to begin this year with the solar plant scheduled to start operations at the beginning 2022. The construction of the wind power plant is planned to commence early 2022 and become operational by the end of 2022.

QMM President Ny Fanja Rakotomalala commented on the plans,

“This project is a strong example of our commitment with the Government of Madagascar to the sustainable development of the region. On a sunny and windy day, all the electricity needed by QMM and the Fort Dauphin community will be generated by the Malagasy sun and wind…that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity.”

Ny Fanja Rakotomalala QMM President

Secretary General, Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Madagascar, Andriatongarivo Tojonirina Andrisoa, added:

“QMM’s renewable energy project… makes Madagascar a global reference point for the use of renewable energy to supply clean, reliable power in the mining sector and other industries, and to the community.”

Andriatongarivo Tojonirina Andrisoa, Secretary General, Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Madagascar,

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