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Rio Tinto banks on renewable energy for its mine in Madagascar

Rio Tinto banks on renewable energy for its mine in Madagascar

Rio Tinto has signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with CrossBoundary Energy for electricity from a hybrid wind and solar plant to supply the former’s QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.

The PPA agreement involves a 20-year contract is with CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), which will build, own and operate a hybrid plant that consists of an 8-MW solar park and a 12-MW wind farm tied to a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MWas reserve capacity to ensure a stable and reliable network.

The ilmenite mine

The solar project which will located in the Port Ehoala Park area will commence this year and completed in early 2022. The nine-turbine wind farm, in turn, will enter the building works phase early next year and become operational by the end of 2022. The combined installation will supply 100% of the mine’s power during peak generation times and will meet up to 60% of the operations’ annual electricity needs.

The mine is owned by QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), a joint venture in which Rio Tinto holds an 80% stake and the government of Madagascar has the remaining 20%. The site is located near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region. The ilmenite it produces is a source of titanium dioxide, predominantly used as a white pigment in paints and paper

“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. It is a major step forward on our journey towards a truly sustainable mine, that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity,” said QMM president Ny Fanja Rakotomalala.

 

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