Prieska Miner Intends on Migrating to Renewable Energy
With the announcement by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to grant ESKOM a 13% electricity tariff increase, many companies including miners have been gravitating towards new sources of energy. Orion Minerals, located close to Prieska, has been investigating alternative energy sources due to the spike in electricity charges which are one of the main disbursements of its operations. The miner announced last week that it has signed a renewable energy generation collaboration agreement with Juwi Renewable Energies South Africa to investigate the renewable energy generation potential at the Prieska zinc/copper project.
The main objective of the co-operation is to gauge the feasibility of a dedicated 35 MW solar and wind hybrid power plant for the project. The outcomes of the study will provide the company with a solid foundation for the miner’s long-term power supply approach for its operations as well as the Siyathemba local municipality in line with the local government integrated development plans.
Orion CEO and MD Errol Smart confirmed what is known to the many photovoltaic (solar) enthusiasts that the Northern Cape has the highest irradiance levels in the country, with a hot and dry climate (suitable for solar farms) and is also well-situated for wind farms with its wide open spaces.
“It is already a well-established renewable energy generating region, with 190 MW of solar power plants in operation and 240 MW of wind power currently under construction, which are adjacent to the Prieska project. “The renewable energy opportunity can only improve our long-term power supply security, while simultaneously lessening the burden on the national electricity grid and reducing carbon and water footprints,” Smart stated.
Smart added that the study into possible renewable energy solutions at Prieska will complement the on-going bankable feasibility study.