Another big gold mine in WA is going solar in a move that could reduce emissions by 16,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. 

The Gruyere mine, located some 200 kilometres north-east of Laverton, will have a renewable energy microgrid that will include a solar farm comprising 25,000 panels, capable of producing 13 megawatts of power with a 4.4MW battery energy storage system. 

That makes its solar capabilities greater than those of the Granny Smith mine south of Laverton, which was acclaimed as “one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids” upon its completion in October. The Granny Smith solar farm has 20,000 panels and produces 8 megawatts of power with a 2MW/1MW hour battery system. 

The solar farm at Gruyere will be even larger than the one at the Granny Smith mine.

Gruyere will also have an additional 4MW gas-fired engine as part of its microgrid. The gas engine, being installed by the APA Group, is due for completion by mid-2021, while the solar and battery energy storage system components will be installed by the end of next year. 

Gruyere is half-owned by Gold Fields, which also operates the Granny Smith mine. 

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Duncan Gibbs, Managing Director of Gold Road which is the joint venture partner in Gruyere, said green energy was an important part of the mine’s future and would reduce not only emissions but also costs. 

“Gold Road is proud to be part of this green energy initiative,” Gibbs said. 

“This initiative follows on from the recent commissioning of a solar and battery power solution at our Yamarna exploration facility.” 

The Gruyere gold mine.

Gruyere, which produced its first gold last year, is estimated to have a 12-year mine life at an average of 300,000oz per annum.

Earlier this year, Gold Fields’ Agnew mine became the first in Australia to be powered with wind-generated electricity and now operates a 56MW renewable energy grid. 

The project consists of five wind turbines, a solar farm, battery system and an off-grid gas/diesel engine power plant. 

The 2020-21 Federal Budget announced on October 6 included $1.9 billion in funding to support low emissions and renewable technologies.