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Rio Tinto Initiates Construction of Northern Canada’s Premier Solar Facility at Diavik September 02, 2023 (0 comments)


Northern Canada--Rio Tinto is set to establish the largest solar power plant in Canada's northern territories at its wholly-owned Diavik diamond mine.

[Image via Pexels Commons]

According to a report in Solitaire, with over 6,600 solar panels, the facility is poised to produce around 4,200 megawatt-hours of zero-carbon electricity each year for the diamond mine. The solar plant will supply a quarter of Diavik’s electrical needs during its decommissioning phase and is slated to extend till 2029, even as commercial operations wind down by early 2026.

The report noted that unique bi-facial panels, capable of harnessing direct sunlight and light reflected from the snow - a constant at Diavik - would be a standout feature. This eco-friendly initiative is estimated to reduce diesel consumption at the mine by a staggering million liters annually. It translates to a reduction of 2,900 tonnes in CO2 emissions, akin to the carbon footprint of 630 vehicles.

“I am delighted that we will be significantly increasing our renewable power generation with the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at the Diavik Diamond Mine," said Angela Bigg, the head of the Diavik Diamond Mine, as per the report.

Further bolstering Diavik’s green energy credentials is its existing wind-diesel hybrid power facility. Boasting a 55.4 MW capacity, it currently powers the site.

The report highlighted that supporting this green shift, the project has secured CAN$3.3 million from the Northwest Territories’ Large Emitters GHG Reducing Investment Grant program and CAN$600,000 via Canada’s Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit.

Post-closure, Diavik is collaborating with regional authorities and local stakeholders to optimize the utilization of this renewable energy infrastructure for the broader community.

The report added that Rio Tinto’s global commitment to sustainable energy is evident in its ambitious goals. The mining conglomerate is on track to slash its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by half by 2030, aspiring for a net-zero status by 2050.

The foundation stones for this solar endeavor will be laid in the coming weeks, with full-scale operations anticipated by mid-2024.

Learn more in the entire Solitaire report.

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