Pan African Resources’ 9.9 MW solar power plant in South Africa saves $170,000 a month on gold mine electricity bill
Pan African Resources, a medium-sized, Africa-focused gold producer with production capacity of over 170,000 ounces of gold per year, has just reported its annual results for the year ended June 2022. The Pan African Resources’ website states that it owns and operates a portfolio of quality, low-cost operations and projects located in South Africa. In the presentation, Pan African Resources provided an update on the progress of its solar photovoltaic projects at its mines.
Pan African Resources commissioned a 9.9 MW solar photovoltaic power plant at one of its sites in May 2022 and said it was a first for a South African mining company. The company has also completed a feasibility study on a 12 MW expansion of the project, bringing the total to 22 MW. It also recently completed a feasibility study for an 8 MW solar photovoltaic power plant at one of its other sites, the Barberton Mine, and site preparation has already begun. The group’s combined 30MW on-site solar PV is expected to save almost R100m per year (US$5.7m) and lead to an 80,000t reduction in CO2 emissions per year. Pan African Resources is also using reclaimed land in the mines as well as the repurposing of former mine lodge sites. Agrivoltaic projects are also being explored to maximize land use for food production and job creation initiatives for local communities. Agrivoltaic is a field that has been presented quite often on Clean Technica and you can read more about it here.
As South Africa’s load shedding program appears to be a constant feature in the near future due to power generation capacity constraints of the national utility, Pan African Resources has also initiated feasibility studies on large-scale battery storage solutions. To source more renewable energy, Pan African Resources is also considering sourcing electricity from off-site solar PV or wind projects.
The presentation also lists several projects implemented under its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) program. Water conservation initiatives feature prominently in the presentation and will involve reducing municipal water use through improved efficiency through reuse and recycling, and building a new water treatment plant. water reprocessing of 3 ML/day for Evander Mines which is already underway. These initiatives will result in cost savings of over $5.6 million over a 10-year period.
Pan African Resources says its ESG program takes the “beyond compliance” approach and includes long-term sustainability initiatives for local communities. The Barberton Blueberries Agricultural Project is an example. The blueberry project employs up to 400 people from the local community during the peak harvest season. Barberton Mines provides the land and water resources. The initial phase covers 15 hectares. An additional 30 ha have been made available for expansion. The first commercial harvest is already underway.
The mining sector is one of the largest employers and contributors to GDP in South Africa. The mining sector is also one of the biggest consumers of electricity, and the South African grid is mainly coal-fired. The increased adoption of solar PV on a large scale by the mining sector and other large consumers will not only save them a lot of money, as shown by the savings of R 100 million per year from savings planned by Pan African Resources, but also to save on CO2 emissions.
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