Gold Road (ASX:GOR) is tapping into the shift towards renewable energy by contracting APA Group (ASX:APA) to construct a hybrid microgrid that will enable a planned expansion in plant throughput at its Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia.

Under the first phase of the build, own and operate agreement, APA will expand the Gruyere power plant with the installation of a 12th reciprocating gas-fired engine capable of generating 4 megawatts (MW) of power by the middle of 2021.

It will then construct a 13MW solar farm and 4.4MW battery storage system by the end of 2021.

This will be APA’s first renewable energy hybrid microgrid and it will enable Gold Road and its partner Gold Fields to increase plant throughput at Gruyere up from the current nameplate capacity of 8.2 million tonnes per annum to 10Mtpa.

Gold Road says the hybrid system will not only reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 16,000t per annum, it will also reduce power costs by 5 per cent at current gas market prices.

The company recently commissioned a solar and battery power solution at its Yamarna exploration facility that reduces its reliance on diesel for power generation.

Growing renewable energy use

The upcoming hybrid microgrid at Gruyere is part of a growing trend towards the use of renewable energy by miners.

Gold Road partner Gold Fields is already relying on renewable energy to supply up to 70 per cent of the Agnew mine’s power requirements.

Construction of the 56MW hybrid renewable, which combines five wind turbines with solar panels, a battery system and an off-grid gas/diesel engine power plant, was completed in May.

Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) has unveiled plans to use renewable energy to supply up to 80 per cent of power for its proposed $1bn West Musgrave copper nickel mine in central Australia.

Even that is not enough with the company looking at its options to get to 100 per cent renewables with the goal of achieving net zero emissions across all its operations by 2050.

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is considerably more aggressive with a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 while BHP (ASX:BHP) is looking to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

It is not just mid-cap and major companies who are making renewable energy moves.

Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) is planning to use green hydrogen – hydrogen produced using renewable energy – to both reduce emissions and enhance the economics of its namesake project.

In Norway, Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC) is planning to use the country’s 100 per cent renewable energy to power its proposed battery anode facility.

While it isn’t a miner, Pilot Energy (ASX:PGY) is looking to repurpose existing oil and gas infrastructure for renewable energy and is currently investigating reconfiguring its offshore Cliff Head A oil production platform into an offshore substation for a wind farm.

This wind power could be used to generate green hydrogen that could be used for iron ore beneficiation or steel-making projects.


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