The world’s second-largest miner, Rio Tinto will build a $98 million (£75m) solar plant to power its Koodaideri iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
The new 34MW solar photovoltaic plant will supply all Koodaideri’s electricity demand during peak solar power generation and 65% of the mine’s average electricity demand.
The solar plant is set to start operations in 2021 and will consist of an estimated 100,000 panels covering 105 hectares.
The use of the solar plant and battery is expected to have a direct positive impact on the environment as it is estimated that it will lower annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 90,000 tonnes compared to conventional gas-powered generation, equivalent to taking about 28,000 cars off the road.
Chris Salisbury, Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive 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 building on the 43% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions since 2008.”