In recent news, Rio Tinto signed an agreement for its operations of QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar for a new renewable energy plant.
This project uses both solar and wind energy. The project will help in achieving Rio Tinto’s carbon neutral objective toward its operation in Madagascar by 2023.
The project focuses on reducing the environmental footprint of the ilmenite mine. Other major focuses as a part of the wider initiative are carbon sequestration, emissions reduction, ecological restoration, waste and water management, and reforestation.
CrossBoundary Energy (CBE) will build and operate the energy plant for the duration of 20 years. This will comprise of 8 MW solar facility with a 12 MW wind energy facility.
It will supply all of QMM’s electricity demand during peak generation times, and up to 60 percent of the operations’ annual electricity consumption. Further, the company also has plans to replace the power supply to Fort Dauphin town (community of around 80000 people) with renewables.
In the Port Ehoala Park area, the plant will consist of 18000 plus solar panels, construction for which might begin this year. The operations of the solar plant will start at the start of 2022.
“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.
Secretary-General, Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Madagascar, Andriatongarivo Tojonirina Andrisoa, said, “The Government of Madagascar is committed to the energy transition and to setting up Madagascar to be energy independent, as stated in the President’s Initiative pour l’Emergence de Madagascar (IEM). QMM’s renewable energy project, technically ambitious with two installations dedicated to solar and wind, is fully aligned with that vision. It 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.”
“With this flagship project, QMM is leading the way at Rio Tinto and in Madagascar in utilizing renewable energy to power mining operations and reduce carbon emissions,” told Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive, Sinead Kaufman.
Matt Tilleard, CrossBoundary Energy Co-founder and Managing Partner, stated, “Emissions from electricity use in mining is estimated to account for around 1% of all greenhouse gases globally. Rio Tinto is leading the way in demonstrating how mines can seize a huge opportunity to reduce these emissions. We are focused on delivering cleaner power to businesses and were, therefore, able to offer Rio Tinto a flexible, fast, all-equity funding approach, combined with our reliable track record as one of Africa’s largest distributed renewable utilities.”