Rio Tinto to build its first solar at $2.6 billion project


Global mining corporation Rio Tinto has announced plans to build its first solar photovoltaic plant.

Rio Tinto approved $98 million in investment to construct a 34MW solar system at its Koodaideri iron ore mine in the Pilbara in Western Australia.

The solar energy system will be integrated with a 12MWh battery energy storage system to help power the firm’s entire Pilbara power network.

The solar facility will supply approximately 65% of the $2.6 billion mining project’s average energy demand.

The project will comprise 100,000 solar panels installed on 105 hectares of land. The plant is expected to be completed in 2021.

The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 90,000 tonnes compared to conventional gas-powered generation. This is the equivalent of taking about 28,000 cars off the road.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said: “The construction of our first solar plant in the Pilbara is a significant milestone for the business and an important step in reducing our carbon footprint in the region.

“We are investigating additional renewable energy options in the Pilbara, as well as other opportunities to reduce emissions across our entire global portfolio, building on the 43% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions since 2008.”

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