October 31, 2019: Gold mining firm Nordgold said on October 22 it had formed a consortium to build a 13MW solar power plant with battery storage to provide 100% of energy needs for its two gold mines in Burkina Faso.
The consortium is made up of Nordgold, which owns 90% of the Bissa and Bouly gold mines, independent power producer Total Eren and the Africa Energy Management Platform, a finance and development company that specializes in renewable and hybrid energy plants for mining and industrial projects across Africa.
Total Eren, a subsidiary of Eren Group, works in partnership with local leaders to develop electric power plants.
The mines, which are 5km apart, produced 7,476 kt of rock in 2016, 3,000 kt more than in 2015.
Of that, just one or two grams of gold per tonne are likely to have been extracted, which makes gold mining one of the most extravagant industries in the world.
Adding the solar plant should result in lower costs, says Nordgold CEO Nikolai Zelenski.
“By building this new solar plant, we improve the efficiency of our mines by creating a more secure power supply at lower cost, but we are also helping to make our Burkina Faso mines far more sustainable, while minimizing our carbon footprint,” he said. “
The installation of a solar power plant at Bissa and Bouly, Nordgold’s key assets in terms of production, is in line with our strategy of implementing the best environmental standards across our operations.”
Nordgold is operating the mines under a 10-year contract that is due to end in 2027.
It is not the only gold mine in Africa to install a solar power plant to reduce operating costs. B2Gold, a Canadian gold mining company, said it would complete a 30MW solar plus storage system at its mine in Mali for the third quarter of 2020.