The Gold Fields Board this week gave the green light for the construction of a 40MW solar plant at the South Deep mine in South Africa. This follows the granting of a licence by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa on 25 February 2021.
The 40MW solar plant will generate over 20% of the average electricity consumption of the mine. It will comprise 116,000 solar panels and cover a 118ha area roughly the size of 200 soccer fields and will be on mine property.
The estimated capital investment for the plant is R660m, including contingencies, but the use of self-generated, renewable energy will translate into savings of around R120m on the cost of electricity a year. South Deep is currently finalising procurement strategies and contractor criteria for the construction of the plant, which will begin during Q2 2021. The plant is expected to be commissioned during Q2 2022.
Newly appointed CEO of Gold Fields, Chris Griffith said: “The South Deep solar plant is the latest step in our renewable energy journey and follows the plants that are in operation at Agnew and Granny Smith as well as the plans for solar plants at Gruyere and Salares Norte.”