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Renewable Energy Powers Gold Mining in Namibia

By Faridat Salifu

The mining industry in Namibia is recently taking a major step towards decarbonization with the introduction of a 10 MW photovoltaic solar power plant at the Otjikoto gold mine.

This comes as Sustainable Power Solutions (SPS) is partnering with local entities Fortitude and the Oelofse family to supply clean energy to the mine, located 300 km from the capital Windhoek.

SPS plans to develop the solar power plant on the Maxwell farm in north-central Namibia, projecting an annual production of approximately 26,360 MWh of clean energy.

This project marks a significant change in Namibia’s power dynamics, as the solar plant will be connected to the Namibia Power Corporation (Nampower) grid, rather than solely behind the customer’s meter, as per the Modified Single Buyer (MSB) framework by NamPower.

This shift allows independent power producers to sell electricity directly to various entities, including regional distributors, large industrial and mining companies, and municipalities.

The 10.6 million US dollar investment is set to come online by the end of 2024 and is expected to significantly offset the Otjikoto gold mine’s annual emissions of 26,360 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The positive environmental impact is not just limited to decarbonization but also represents a strategic move by B2Gold, the largest mining operator in Namibia, to reduce their environmental footprint.

This project aligns with similar initiatives by B2Gold at their Fekola gold mine in Mali, where a 30 MWp photovoltaic solar power plant has been installed.

The introduction of renewable energy at the Otjikoto gold mine sets a positive precedent in the mining industry and demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility in Namibia.

 

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